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Public trust in the healthcare professions has declined in recent years. The United States ranks among the lowest in terms of public trust in their physicians. Higher levels of trust in one’s primary care provider (PCP) have been associated with improved patient outcomes. Most studies involving trust among healthcare practitioners focused mainly on its conception. Little is known on what attributes of PCPs affects trust.
The purpose of this study is to describe the impact of dual degreed healthcare providers on patient trust. Secondary objectives includes identification of a) any additional PCP attributes that may affect patient trust. And b) which additional degrees may impact level of patient trust.
A cross-sectional study evaluating the impact of dual degrees on public trust of their physician or non-physician providers (NPP). Participants were given a questionnaire regarding their perception on their PCP and whether that would change if possessed an additional degree. Survey was comprehensive in nature, focusing on current perception on their PCP’s demographics, level of communication, education, and overall qualifications, and which factors would be affected if they had an additional degree.
A total of 279 participants responded to the survey. Roughly 55 percent of respondents indicated their PCP’s level of care (n = 154) and communication (n = 152) would be improved if they had an additional degree. 58 percent (n = 163) believed that their level of trust in their PCP would increase if they had an additional degree. These differences were not found to be statistically significant. However, more respondents that saw a physician as their PCP felt an additional degree would make a positive impact on their trust (p-value = 0.019) and perception of care (p-value = 0.020) received by their PCP than those that saw an NPP.
Overall, this study found that an additional degree impacts patient perception on trust in addition to communication and level of care received from their PCP. Also, the years of experience, where their education was received, and continuity of care has an impact on patient trust. Further study involving how to impact patient trust with their PCP may prove to be beneficial and ultimately lead to increased reputation and marketability.
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