Avatar photo
Post by Building Trust

The overlooked role of physician trust in patients

Most of the existing literature on trust between patients and clinicians focuses on whether patients trust their care team – but what happens when clinicians don’t trust patients? Diminished relationships, less-than-ideal care, and professional burnout are just a few implications of these scenarios. And although there are differential power dynamics, the nature of trust in the patient-clinician relationship is reciprocal. Each version of trust informs the other, and both are necessary for a successful partnership.

This conversation with Rachel Grob, MA, PhD, and Tara Montgomery explored different facets of the patient-clinician relationship and possible approaches to build trust to improve quality and safety of care, patient health outcomes, and the overall patient experience.

Rachel Grob, MA, PhD, directs the Qualitative and Health Experiences Research (Q-HER) lab in the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and in association with its Center for Patient Partnerships. She is also Chair Emeritus of the US Health Experiences Research Network, and Chair of DIPEx International. She is a sociologist whose career, both inside and outside academia, has been devoted to involving patients in the discourse, policy processes and institutional arrangements that impact their health care. Rachel has conducted research about patients’ experiences on a wide array of topics, her work has been supported by numerous funders including Robert Wood Johnson, the National Cancer Institute, and AHRQ.

Tara Montgomery is an EMCC-accredited executive coach and founder of Civic Health Partners, an independent consulting practice that works with purpose-driven organizations to develop trustworthy public engagement strategies and leadership practices. Her academic research on the role of trust in the US leadership response to COVID-19 informs her approach to galvanizing more trustworthy systems leaders. Tara previously spent 14 years with Consumer Reports, where she championed patient advocacy and public education campaigns and partnered with the ABIM Foundation on the launch of Choosing Wisely. Tara serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Medical Specialties. She is an Executive in Residence at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, where she collaborates with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, facilitates workshops for MBA students on impact leadership, and contributes practitioner insights to graduate and executive programs in healthcare leadership.