Patient Engagement, Physicians

Survey: 41% of Americans lost trust in their doctor during Covid

Infrequent communication about Covid-19 and slow adoption of virtual care were the most common reasons cited by patients when asked why they lost confidence in their doctor, according to the survey conducted by SymphonyRM.

Even as the Delta variant of Covid-19 surges across the country, about 4 in 10 Americans said they have lost trust in their doctor, according to a new survey.

Conducted by patient engagement services provider SymphonyRM, the survey polled 1,192 U.S. healthcare consumers in May.

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Of the 41% of respondents who said they had lost confidence in their doctor because of the pandemic, the primary reason cited was infrequent communication about Covid-19 from their doctor (53%), followed by their slow adoption of virtual care (29%) and their under-utilization of digital communication tools (24%).

Communication and the use of digital tools drove confidence in doctors. Of the 59% of respondents who said they have more confidence in their doctors due to the pandemic, about 61% cited their quick transition to virtual care as the main reason for the boost, while 58% said it was the frequency with which they communicated about Covid-19 and 47% said it was their use of digital communication tools.

In fact, 63% of respondents considering switching doctors said they will consider their use of digital communication tools before selecting one.

It is clear that patients want healthcare information from their providers outside of office visits, but that need is not being met, according to the survey.

Only 55% of patients who were contacted by their doctor received updates with information about Covid-19 or the vaccine. Just 45% currently receive general health information, 29% get information about scheduling preventive screenings and 21% receive information related to their chronic conditions.

Receiving information from care teams is likely to prompt patient action, the survey shows. About 71% of respondents said they would likely schedule a preventive care appointment if prompted by their doctor.

“Our research found that although many health systems and doctors rose to the challenge of connecting patients with the information they needed about their health and the virus, many Americans were left behind and did not receive the same level of communication and engagement,” said Michael Linnert, CEO of SymphonyRM, in a news release.

To improve their patient engagement efforts, providers can take a leaf out of tech giants’ books.

About 40% of respondents said that Amazon met their “gold standard” in terms of communication, according to the survey. Another 28% said the same about Netflix.

Photo credit: Chinnapong, Getty Images