Americans mistrust medical profession, but like their own doctors

Americans are less likely to trust the medical profession than people in many other countries, but they often like their own doctors, according to a new report from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

The seemingly contradictory findings—based on an examination of several public polls on health care from the past four decades—were reported October 23, 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The study also found that low-income adults are significantly less trusting of doctors and less satisfied with their medical care than those not in a low-income bracket.

Lead author Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and professor of health policy and analysis at HSPH, told HealthDay that it’s up to medical leaders to restore Americans’ faith in the profession. He said that professional societies, such as the American Medical Association, can seem to value doctors’ self-interests more than patients’ well-being.

“They need to take more visible stands on issues broadly affecting people’s health…and on issues important to low-income Americans—like opposing budget cuts to community health centers,” he said.

Read the HealthDay article: Americans Show Distrust of Medical Profession in Survey

Read the NEJM study: Public Trust in Physicians—U.S. Medicine in International Perspective