Trust in health care has plummeted amid the pandemic

After two years of pandemic fatigue, trust in healthcare is at an all-time low, according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer Special Report on Trust in Healthcare.

Trust is a key determinant of health behaviors and outcomes, but COVID-19 has greatly influenced how the public makes health decisions, according to February’s online survey of more than 10,000 people in 10 countries around the world.

“We have seen fluctuations in confidence since January 2020, which speaks to the volatility of the pandemic,” said Kirsty Graham, global president of health at Edelman. “This may be because so many people were interacting with the healthcare system at very stressful times. Volatility can also reflect what was happening directly around them – the prevalence of Covid-19, the availability of vaccines and other localized factors.

More than half of respondents say the pandemic has reduced their confidence in the healthcare system, and only 61% say they are confident in their ability to find answers about healthcare and make informed decisions for themselves and their families, a decline of 10 points over five years.

The report also found that trust in the health sector has a direct impact not only on personal health behaviors, but also on the likelihood that a person will change their health decisions based on the way how they affect others.

Those with higher levels of trust in health care are more likely to be proactive about their general health, vaccinated against COVID-19, supportive of public health measures on personal liberty, and willing to change recommendations health officials than less confident respondents.

Vaccination status is also correlated to where the public received their medical advice. The unvaccinated rely on the internet and the voices of their peers, not health experts, for information about vaccinations, while the vaccinated turn to doctors and national health experts.

The divide results from a mixture of economic, geographical, cultural and political factors. Among those surveyed, 71% of high-income people were more likely to trust health care, compared to 55% of low-income people, while 62% of whites had high confidence compared to 55% of blacks.

More than half of those polled (55%) fear that medical science has become politicized and the survey results are split along party lines. Only half of independent or third-party voters had high faith in health care, compared to 60% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats.

Restoring public trust in health care will take time and dedication to break through the information barrier and build trust across the entire health ecosystem.

Employers and businesses would be ideal platforms to reach employees about health information, according to Graham.

“Companies also need to elevate the voices of doctors and experts, who are confident in health, but recognize that the message, the messenger and the mode must meet all audiences where they are,” she said. said, adding that those with less confidence like to hear local voices the most. “If we’ve learned one thing from the pandemic, it’s that hyper-local messaging has broken through barriers of trust.”

Only half of respondents said they regularly consume health information, but cost and information play nearly equal roles in determining a person’s ability to take care of their health.

This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.

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