The trust deficit is deepening, and oh by the way Americans trust Dr. Oz more than six of the top presidential candidates.

Not surprisingly, consumers are much more inclined to do business with companies they trust. However, consumers today are facing a crisis of trust. A recent study[1] shows a global decline in trust over the last year and 63 percent of respondents said they refused to purchase a product or service because they distrusted a particular company.

But what is trust? Brands throw the word around, and companies tout themselves as “America’s most trusted,” but what does that really mean? What makes a trusted brand? Does trust actually influence consumer habits? Does trust contribute to a business’ bottom line?

At PARTNERS+simons, we’re passionate about trust. That’s why we worked with MassINC Polling Group to create the industry-first PARTNERS+simons National Healthcare Trust Index, a 1,200 person national survey that measures national trust driver benchmarks for the hospital and health insurance sectors. We then created our Hospital Trust Model out of the Index data in order to use it to generate a Hospital Trust Scorecard for our clients. While the full findings will be released next week, here’s a peek at a couple of key findings from the PARTNERS+simons National Healthcare Trust Index.

In looking at what types of information consumers trust when it comes to healthcare, the findings show that:

  • 41% trust medical info read on websites like WebMD
  • 68% trust medical information received from their doctor
  • Despite technology changes, people are still more likely to turn to their doctor when they have a question (51%) than the internet (38%)
  • 19% have a high degree trust in medical info they get from a hospital’s advertising

Build your business by building trust

This data has real life implications for healthcare marketing positioning and selling strategies. For example, trust in a physician and their delivery of medical information is paramount. Every hospital is potentially one bad patient experience away from a defection. Keeping doctors closely aligned to your organization’s trust-enhanced positioning and providing them with the communications training and tools to endear patients is key. Another take away is that rather than just posting medical information online, marketers need to closely align prescriptive online medical information with actual physicians – whether it’s through the use of online video, medical myths, or doctor-authored procedure briefs.

There’s an opportunity for hospital and health plan marketers to get smarter about how they increase trust with patients and members. And PARTNERS+simons can help. Statistics and follow on strategies such as these represent just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the new PARTNERS+simons National Healthcare Trust Index. And in case you are wondering, Dr. Oz is highly trusted by 22% of the respondents. More to come…

[1] Edelmans 2015 Trust Barometer

About the Author

As a member of the executive team, Chris manages the agency’s sales and marketing. Since joining Partners & Simons in 1995, Chris has overseen new client acquisition. He is an integral piece of our pitching process and over the years has lead the effort in winning many clients (big and small), including Fidelity, Thermo, Pioneer Investments, SunLife, Applied Biosystems, Agilent Technologies and Genzyme.