Healthcare decisions are critically important and intensely personal, but the multitude of treatment options is also very confusing. To successfully navigate interactions with the healthcare system, patients must place trust in experts to guide them to the best option. This is a core strength of Health Systems today and we must build on it.
Many Health Systems leadership teams, faced with multiple challenges, are unsure what to do. The answer is to build trust in your communities. Patient trust is the Health System’s most valuable asset. Furthermore, the pursuit of increasing trust will naturally light the way to the best strategic path for your system.
I define trust as the amount of respect stakeholders have in your health system combined with how strongly they believe you will deliver on promises. Trust is rooted in public perception and shaped through a mix of first-person experiences, narratives in the community, and official health system communications.
Health systems and Hospitals have a strong foundation of trust, according to the NORC market research group. While doctors and nurses are trusted by over 80% of people, health systems hold high levels of public trust ranging from 64-72%.
This is great news and an opportunity for health systems to build on this strength. Leaders should treat trust as their most precious asset and seek to build and extend trust with patients, nurses, doctors, and the entire community.
Invest time and resources in programs, actions, and communications designed to foster trust and increase your system’s ability to live up to promises. Notice insurance companies are not widely trusted (only 33%). This provides a head start for health systems. However, don’t take your role in the community for granted. Payors are investing time and capital to try and build trust.
Health Systems must transition away from an identity anchored in acute care within the four walls of the hospital. Leave outdated Credential and Castle mindsets behind and become the trusted health & wellness brand for the entire community. Develop and earn trust as the best source for all health-related topics in your community. Building trust will strengthen your value to the community while opening up new strategic options.