Patient trust in doctors and the healthcare system is declining and has been for years.

As noted in our blog about Wise Healthcare Consumer Month, 73 percent of Americans said they had high confidence in medical leadership in 1975. Only 34 percent felt the same way in 2018, according to Gallup poll. A 2017 SERMO survey found that 87 percent of U.S. physicians said patients trust their doctors less than they did ten years ago.

Patients point to professional misconduct, lack of transparency about conflicts of interest, and failure to take responsibility for mistakes as some of the reasons, says a Pew Research report. Others include the fear that physician offices won’t keep patients’ personal information secure or costs low.

The consequences of such severe mistrust go beyond the physician's status and lead to decreased patient compliance, poorer outcomes, corrosive physician-patient interactions, and physician burnout.

There is hope, however, if health system leaders and...