June 2001 Bulletin

Caring, competency, communication builds patient trust

A prospective study of 414 patients who visited family physicians found the five behaviors most strongly associated with trust immediately after a visit are being comforting and caring, demonstrating competency, encouraging and answering questions, explaining what they were doing and referring to a specialist, if needed.

The study by researchers at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. found that the behaviors least important for trust were gentleness during the examination, discussing options/asking opinions, looking in the eye and treating as an equal.

The study appeared in the April issue of the Journal of Family Practice.

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