Too much medicine: not enough trust?

Published in

  • 2 min read
  • 30 January 2019

Contributors

Why it matters

Trust is an essential part of a healthy doctor-patient relationship. Doctors need to trust that patients will provide relevant and accurate information about their health, and patients need to trust doctors’ clinical judgment about the tests and treatments they need – if any.

But trust isn’t a given. Trust is built over time, and trust can be lost. When trust isn’t present between a doctor and patient, how is care affected?

This study explores whether trust between doctors and patients – or the lack of it – has influenced recent increases in medical investigations and treatments. This is an important problem, because too much medicine – including too many tests and too low a threshold for intervention – could potentially harm patients’ health.

Our approach

By reviewing evidence about the nature of the doctor-patient relationship, we provide insight on how trust might influence doctors’ decision-making about ordering investigations or prescribing treatments.

Through relevant case studies, we illustrate the decision-making dilemmas doctors face when trust is in doubt.

We also investigate ways of building trust, and the potential for healthcare systems to facilitate trust-building to ensure that decisions about tests and treatments are made ethically.

What we found

 

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