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Healthcare Trust Has Hit an All-Time Low, According to Report


Trust in healthcare is at the lowest level in more than a decade, according to a recent report that surveyed opinions and attitudes of physicians, leaders at hospitals and health systems, insurance company executives, and consumers.

Trust in healthcare is at the lowest level in more than a decade, according to a recent report from ReviveHealth.

The ReviveHealth National Trust Index Survey studied the opinions and attitudes of healthcare professionals through an electronic survey between June 6, 2017, and August 11, 2017. The survey’s participants included physicians, executives from large insurance companies, and hospital and health system leaders involved with managed care contracts, and the survey also gathered consumer’s feelings on insurers, doctors, and hospitals. The trust score was calculated through consideration for the fairness, reliability, and honesty of healthcare organizations.

“Consumers’ lack of trust in the industry—regardless of age, educational level, political preference, or socio-economic status—should come as no surprise given the complexity of the healthcare system and how little healthcare’s central players trust each other,” said Brandon Edwards, chief executive officer of ReviveHealth.

Of the total 1369 responses, there 604 consumers, 600 practicing physicians, 117 hospital and health system executives, and 48 health insurance. The results revealed that out of a total of 100 points, the health systems’ level of trust in health plans was 52, a physicians’ level of trust in health plans was 55.8, health plans’ level of trust in health systems was 68.4, and consumers’ overall level of trust was 69.

Additional key findings included:

  • 63% of health system respondents think that previously proposed health plan mergers would have an “entirely” or “mostly” negative affect on their business
  • More than 38% of health plan executives think it has become more difficult to negotiate contracts with providers year-over-year
  • Consumers who had a change in their healthcare during the past year were 4 times more likely to believe that their coverage had worsened

“The difference in satisfaction among different health plans was greater than it was among any of the other industry groups,” Dan Prince, vice president of customer engagement at SMG Catalyst Healthcare Research, said in a statement. “While all 6 health plans performed poorly, Cigna received the highest aggregate score among major insurers by a very narrow margin. UnitedHealthcare received the lowest composite score for the same time period. Hospital executives, physicians, and consumers have had historically low trust in health plans, overall, but the results show some health insurance companies are faring better than others.”

Although the trust in healthcare is low, the report suggested that communication among professionals and customers will lead to an improvement and needs to begin among those in the industry and then expand to consumer trust, according to the report.

“Through our research, we’ve identified four core drivers of trust that must exist between these industry partners to improve overall trust in the healthcare system,” Edwards concluded. “With communication, consistency, compassion, and competency in play, progress is possible.”

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