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Why We Trust Doctors

The National Journal, popular in policy circles, has been running a series on the public’s distrust of institutions.  On Thursday they posted an article on “Why We Trust Doctors.”  The article reports, “At its core, medicine is a personal business.  Even as health care has become more technological (surgical robots, electronic medical records) and physicians have become more squeezed for time, nearly every medical encounter involves a face-to-face interaction between a doctor and a patient…Pollsters and scholars of medical ethics say that this personal interaction is a key to doctor-patient trust.”

The article also noted, “A doctor is rarely seen as the agent of a big institution or, like a member of Congress, as a well-liked but distant individual.  Your doctor is the person who sits in a room with you and helps to solve your problems…The structure of medicine may also account for some of the lingering trust. The insurance system places an intermediary between care and payment, which makes it harder for patients to see doctors as profiteers”:

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