HealthFebruary 23, 2023

How can healthcare professionals re-establish trust in medical information?

A lack of trust in medical information can undercut patient compliance with care instructions from healthcare professionals and compromise health outcomes.

Healthcare misinformation continues to spread, confusing patients and frustrating healthcare professionals. Misinformation increases the cost of care, exacerbating treatable health conditions as patients delay seeking care or ignore advice and care instructions. The US Surgeon General’s office recently advised that health misinformation “reduced the willingness of people to seek effective treatment for cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.”

Fortunately, there are steps healthcare professionals can take to re-establish trust in medical information. With better collaboration among clinicians, payers, and solution providers, healthcare consumers and their supporters could receive consistent, reinforcing information about their conditions and the best care options across their care journey. This could position healthcare professionals as the primary source of medical advice.

The role of payers and care management teams in building trust

Because payers play a large and ongoing role in the US healthcare system, they should explore what paths exist to counter misinformation. Payers are in a unique position to offer trusted, credible health information to plan members, although it may require evolving their member engagement approaches. Actions could include:

Expanding digital telehealth platforms

Telehealth is now widely available and accepted by a range of patients. Studies have documented that telehealth platforms helped payers maintain member satisfaction during the Covid-19 pandemic and determined that telehealth consultations can be as accurate as in-person visits.

Redesigning care management to take an ‘engagement first’ approach

Solutions and tools that provide meaningful health education information can maintain member engagement and boost member confidence, empowering them to improve self-care.

The power of deploying consistent, evidence-based information resources across the ecosystem

Access to multiple information sources means members are in the difficult position of trying to assess which source is ‘best’ or most accurate. Rather than leave them to sort through information, payers can build trust and help improve member outcomes by ensuring members encounter the same credible health information across their care journey. Payers, providers, and partners that use the same evidence-based patient health education resources establish a compelling counterweight to misinformation and more questionable sources. Ensuring that evidence-based information is easy to access and available in multiple formats will also increase the likelihood of patient adoption.

Providing consistent and accurate medical information across the care journey, from an initial consultation with a clinician to each care manager conversation with a health plan member, requires cooperation and coordination across the ecosystem. It’s worth the effort because it benefits everyone in the care continuum:

  • Consumers benefit by becoming educated and empowered with credible information.
  • Providers benefit by being aligned to their patients.
  • Payers and healthcare solutions providers benefit by having harmonized health education content and engagement solutions that integrate into careflows.

Rebuilding trust in health information is critical to effective diagnosis and treatment and ongoing care management. Consequently, every participant in healthcare delivery has a role in re-establishing trust.

Read more in our whitepaper "Re-establishing Trust in Medical Information" and explore how trusted, evidence-based health education and interactive multimedia solutions from UpToDate can help deliver more effective and personalized care management at scale. 

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