Why Do More Americans Trust You the Most?

WhyAmericansTrustGraphA recently conducted Harris poll has shown that Americans may trust medical professionals with their private information and data more than almost any other field. As many as 79% of all Americans feel that their data is safe with medical professionals.

This is an entire 10% more than those who trust banks at 68% and far exceeds the number of individuals who trust the Federal Government itself, a paltry 48%. This data certainly offers some encouraging information when it comes to trust and the physician/patient relationship.

What exactly is leading patients to trust medical professionals more than those in other fields? What can be done to ensure that this remains the case as the entire field moves to make EHRs standard practice?

The Nature of the Doctor-Patient Relationship

In part, one reason may be that patients must trust their doctors with a lot of information if the doctor-patient relationship is to work at all. Unless patients feel comfortable discussing personal matters with their doctor, and feel certain that they can believe the information given to them by their doctor, they will find a new one. This means that most people already feel an inherent sense of trust when it comes to the medical professionals in their lives. 

Making Patient Privacy a Priority

Many other sectors, perhaps especially the government, have been the subject of fairly public investigations into the degree to which consumer privacy is a priority. Recent years have seen a number of instances wherein trusted agencies have been perceived as having willingly compromised consumer privacy for gain of some sort.

Ever-changing digital search and seizure laws, and incidents like the 2013 class action lawsuit against the IRS have created an environment wherein individual privacy is no longer a given and may indeed be unlikely.

The medical profession, on the other hand, has been subject to extensive legislation within the provisions of HIPAA, which governs the protection of patient confidentiality.

Taking the Steps to Keep Data Storage Secure

Not all lack of trust comes from the idea that data is being intentionally accessed: online retailers and other financial institutions may have scored lower when it comes to confidence in keeping data secure because of incidents that have occurred wherein key data has been hacked.

Even retail giants like Target have had to inform customers of breaches to security in the last year or two, which has no doubt led to lower levels of trust when it comes to data security.

For medical professionals, this highlights the need for great care when it comes to selecting third party data storage providers. It’s essential to ensure that data stored remotely is protected; for instance, if data is stored overseas, local laws are in place support the protection of sensitive information.

More than any other sector of American life, medical providers have to get security right. Besides the potential for multi-million dollar fines accompanying a HIPAA violation, patient trust is critical to the viability of any facility or practice.