Sitting in a medical office last week, I overheard something that sent a chill up my spine. Another patient in the waiting room was whispering to her friend that she didn’t trust the doctor. I wondered why she might feel that way.

Did the doctor not keep up with the literature on new treatments for diseases or on prescription medicine that has been found to cause problems? Is the doctor being wooed by drug company reps? (Is the waiting room full of sales people with briefcases?)

A survey from a few years ago revealed that doctors themselves believe that patient trust is waning. Of more than 2,000 physicians surveyed, 87 percent said that patients trust doctors less than they did 10 years ago. Another survey, covering patients in 29 countries, showed the U.S. was at No. 24 when it comes to Americans trusting our doctors.

Online physician reviews came under fire in another survey when approximately half of patients said they only somewhat trust the reviews. That’s something to consider when using those reviews to find a new doctor.

What happens when we don’t entirely trust our doctor? We tend not to listen. Therefore we might not take it seriously when we’re told to cut back on sodium or get a flu shot, both of which (or anything else they tell us) can lead to health complications.

What do we need for trust to either be present, or to rebuild after it’s faded? For some of us, it would be as simple as having a doctor who talks to us directly and doesn’t spend all their time inputting data into a laptop ... as though clicking boxes for our list of ailments. Hit the “Send” button and a prescription slip prints out at the other end, based on no medical intervention whatsoever.

©2018 King Features Synd., Inc.

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