Editorials

In my chosen doctor I trust

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7480.1418 (Published 16 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1418
  1. David Mechanic, director (mechanic@rci.rutgers.edu)
  1. Rutgers, State University of New Jersey Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, 30 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

    And that trust transfers from doctors to organisations

    The season of goodwill provides the occasion to consider the importance of trust in facilitating social intercourse and a well functioning society.1 Trust provides the glue that makes cooperation possible without costly and intrusive regulation. Trust has declined in all social institutions in recent decades2 and medical leaders in the United States elicit as little public confidence as leaders in government and business.3 Trust in doctors has also diminished with the explosion of public information on betrayals of trust, failure to follow evidence based standards, and poor quality care, but patients remarkably retain much trust in their personal doctors.4 Such trust encourages sharing of intimate feelings, cooperation in treatment, and adherence to medical advice.5 Patients may have assimilated some of the negative media images of doctors and health organisations but they typically believe their doctor is different. Choosing one's doctor and care settings, continuity of care, and good …

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