How Hospitals Can Establish Trust With Their Patients

Dec 16, 2016

80% of patients noted that whiteboards were an effective coping tool

Trust is one of the most important parts of the relationship between hospitals and their patients. It is also one of the key determinants in how patients view their hospital experience. Patients who trust their physician are not only more likely to report a positive hospital experience, they are also more likely to follow physician's advice, increasing their chances of recovering more quickly.

While there isn't an endemic of patient distrust in their care providers - the studies that have been conducted show that patients generally trust their care providers - but there is an inherent fragility to trust when it comes to healthcare in general. It's hard to earn the trust of a patient, but relatively easy to lose it.

Thankfully, there are many things that care teams can do to actively build trust with their patients.

Listen to and Address Their Concerns

There is an inherent duality to every hospital patient. On the one hand, they are a sick or injured person who needs proper medical care. One the other hand, they are a customer who is paying for the service that a hospital provides. This requires hospitals to perform a certain balancing act between treating their guests as patients (who need to be treated) and customers (who need to be satisfied with the service they are paying for).

The perfect way to strike a balance between the two is to actively listen to patient concerns and address them in the best way possible. Some of the most common patient complaints are noise, lack of communication, sleep interruptions and the cleanliness of rooms.

Even if care teams cannot fix these concerns - sleep interruptions are often necessary to check patient vitals and run tests - care teams can still listen to a patient's complaints, show empathy for their feelings and build trust by explaining why these types of interruptions are critical to recovery.

Get Them Involved in Their Care

Trust is built when two people work together. While patients will always look to doctors and nurses as the experts in their field, trust can still be built by allowing patients to become an integral part of the healing process.

When a patient is actively involved in their own care plan, they are far less likely to feel powerless against a process that they do not understand.

How can this be achieved?

Communicate Constantly

The final method of building trust with patients stems from constant communication. Patients want to know where they are in their care plan, how they are progressing and what they can expect the future to bring them.

Use patient whiteboards to keep them informed of their treatment goals, tentative discharge dates, upcoming tests and medication schedules. By effectively communicating all known information in a visual way to patient's, they will feel far more involved in their care. They will also be far more likely to trust their care team and the plan that has been put into place regarding their care.

Learn More

To see how whiteboards can be useful in caring for hospital patients, download our Healthcare eBook. You can also contact our team with any questions and to learn more about our products.