How Hospitals Can Build Trust to Bolster Credibility Among Patients According to ABAM Diplomate Paul E. Gourley, DO, MBA, FACEP, CPE

Dr. Paul E. Gourley Trust and credibility are the foundation of the health care provider-patient relationship. When patients trust their providers, they are more likely to listen to their advice and instructions. Additionally, as better listeners, they are more likely to comply with treatment plans. Furthermore, increased compliance can lead to better outcomes, resulting in a better overall experience for the patient.

Providers who lose the trust and credibility of their patients will encounter difficulty not only in communicating healthcare advice but also in retaining their patients. Moreover, the provision of healthcare is a team effort based on trust. Team members who do not trust each other are less efficient and effective, which increases the risk of mistakes that can contribute to a bad outcome.

The key to establishing credibility with patients is arming them with knowledge. Ultimately, patients want to know a hospital’s or provider’s capability to deliver quality healthcare. Building that credibility can start before a patient even enters the hospital’s doors. With today’s technology platforms, hospitals can easily display their provider information, accreditations, patient safety data, and measures of various healthcare outcomes that will help form the basis of credibility.

Establishing and maintaining trust comes from following through on what a hospital says it will deliver. Additionally, providing effective lines of communication with patients and maintaining transparency in all aspects of their health care further builds and maintains that trust. Furthermore, hospitals should strive to make patients feel valued as individuals, and that their hospital has their best interests at heart. Patients who feel informed and valued are much more likely to trust a facility even in the face of a bad outcome.

Without trust and credibility, the provider-patient relationship can unravel. It does not matter if a provider has the best credentials, impeccable skills, or both; when patients lose trust, they will most likely seek care from a different provider. On the other hand, the stronger the trust and credibility, the stronger the provider-patient relationship, leading to improved communication, better compliance, and more desirable health outcomes.

Paul E. Gourley, DO, is the global medical director of the TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) at International SOS Government Services, where he works closely with TOP regional medical directors worldwide to oversee the ongoing delivery of high-quality healthcare services to more than 500,000 TRICARE beneficiaries overseas.

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On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine