Trust in healthcare is much lower than in other sectors, so what can health execs do to increase that trust?
Trust in healthcare increased in the U.S., rebounding from last year, according to a new report.
According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, the firm’s 19th annual trust and credibility survey, trust in healthcare increased in 23 of the 26 markets studied, and 19 markets now trust healthcare compared to 16 last year.
However, when compared to trust in the other 15 sectors of business studied, healthcare ranks within the lowest third. For perspective, 67% of study participants said they trusted healthcare to “do what is right,” while 78% said this of Technology, the most trusted sector globally in Edelman’s study.
In addition to healthcare as a sector of business, Edelman also studies pharma, biotech, consumer health, insurance, and hospitals /clinics as sub-sectors of healthcare. A five-year look at trends across the sub-sectors of healthcare shows:
However, despite the modest improvements in trust this year, the report uncovered several concerning disparities among specific audiences:
While those who work in industries like energy, financial services, and fashion trust their business sectors much more than the general population does, healthcare sees little of this employee trust advantage in the sector, according to the report.
“Trust levels in healthcare are nearly the same across both employees and the mass population,” Isenberg says. “When looking at employees’ expectations of healthcare employers compared to perceived performance of healthcare employers in those areas, Edelman Trust Barometer data show healthcare lags behind in employee empowerment and CEO leadership.”
Employees are ground zero for growing trust in healthcare, according to Isenberg. “Global Trust data show that when employees trust their employers, they are far more likely to advocate on their behalf, stay loyal, be engaged and live the organization’s mission,” she says. “Healthcare companies should look to build trust by doubling down on employee communications and fostering engagements that are driven by employees themselves. Beyond their commitment to patients, health organizations must show how they are purpose-driven. Employees want to know what their employers are doing to make the world a better place-and how their job directly contributes to this societal impact.”
Taken all together, this year’s Trust data for healthcare and its sub-sectors show that trust is fragile, according to Isenberg. “Healthcare companies must take sustained, proactive action or run the risk of further eroding trust,” she says. “We recommend starting by earning trust with key audiences, like employees and women-and the following were found to be trust-building activities: