How Healthcare Providers Can Encourage Patient Trust

One of the most important things in regards to the patient doctor relationship is trust. Patients must trust that their healthcare providers will make the best decisions for their well-being. If that trust is broken, it can be traumatizing for the patient. Engendering trust in your patient’s is something that’s not always easy to achieve.  But with practice and patience, it can be done.  Getting into the habit can be a little slow, but building genuine concern and generosity is possible everyday. Below are three ways to increase patient trust.

Effective Communication

Above all else, the key to gaining and keeping a patient’s trust is effective communication. While you may want to explain a medical condition or treatment in technical terms, you must always explain it in a way that allows the patient to understand exactly what you’re trying to convey. Different patients are more receptive to different ways of explaining things. Don’t be afraid to change your approach depending on the person in question.  It’s always helpful to adjust your approach depending on the situation.  It’s always advisable to be delicate and have a gentle touch when interacting with patients one-on-one.

Effective communication also means being receptive to what the patient says to you. If a patient has questions, try to answer them as effectively as you can. If a patient feels their concerns are not being answered, they will certainly lose trust in your ability to provide them with adequate healthcare.  Part of being a professional is providing the right kind of care and the right approach to each individual’s treatment needs.

Mandatory HIPAA and HITECH Training

Another thing that should be required for all staff working for a healthcare provider is mandatory HIPAA and HITECH training. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law was passed in 1996. One of the things essential HIPAA training did was create rules denoting how a patient’s personal information can be shared by a healthcare provider. HITECH stands for Health Information Technology for Economic Clinical Health. It is a law that was passed in 2009 with the goal of making sure healthcare providers covert medical records into a digital format.

Not only are following these laws important in regards to maintaining patient trust, not following them could result in severe legal penalties. You need to make sure your staff knows these laws and how to conform to them when dealing with patients’ information and records. Not doing so is both illegal and immoral. Patients expect health providers to protect their privacy when dealing with their information.

Try to Develop Relationships with Patients

While your contact with patients shouldn’t extend to outside of the professional healthcare setting, it’s good to try to form a bond with them. Show them that you also care about them as a person. Some small talk about their family or personal lives is certainly okay. That personal touch can go a far way in regards to building trust.  Every patient feels better if he or she is cared for not only physically, but mentally as well.

Overall, trust is extremely important. Building it requires communicating effectively with patients, protecting their personal information and showing that you care. If you build that trust, you may have a loyal patient for decades to come.  Trust in your providers is essential to health and the process of healing.  When your trust is misplaced or you’re not able to rely on the professionals caring for you, it can be detrimental to your well-being.


Bio: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter and facebook: @RachelleWilber;


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