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Study shows trust is an important attribute to clinician satisfaction; identifies characteristics associated with gender, organizational climate

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There is a new emphasis on clinician trust in healthcare organizations, but little data about how to build trust and what favorable outcomes might result from doing so. In a prospective study of data collected as part of a randomized control trial, researchers used a previously validated measure to assess trust in 165 physicians and advanced practice clinicians (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) in 34 clinics in the Midwest and East Coast.

“These new data show several significant concepts,” explains Dr. Mark Linzer, Principal Investigator of the Healthy Work Place study. “Not surprisingly, trust is an important attribute in clinicians.  In addition, our study identified gender differences in trust, a relationship between the organizational climate and trust, and favorable clinician outcomes – including the intention to remain with the practice – when trust improves over time.”

In the study sample, trust was associated with specific types of work conditions, including ones where clinicians had a sense of control of their workloads, and where organizational culture favored cohesiveness, communication, and values alignment with leadership and quality over productivity (all p < 0.001). In addition, men were more likely than women to endorse high organizational trust (p < 0.05).

At baseline, trust was associated with clinician satisfaction (p < 0.001), and when looking at those clinicians in whom trust improved over time or remained high, high trust was associated with greater satisfaction, less stress, and a greater intention to remain with the organization (all p’s < 0.05).

“Based on this research, organizations wishing to promote trust can now begin to measure it and track it over time, and consider addressing organizational characteristics associated with improved trust such as work control, cohesiveness, quality, values and communication,” said Dr. Linzer.

Mark Linzer, MD, PI, from Hennepin Healthcare, and colleagues at Cornell University, University of Wisconsin, Loyola University, Cambridge Health Alliance, University of Central Florida, University of Alabama and the American Medical Association. This project was supported by grant number R18HS018160 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.”

To learn more: The full study is available on the JAMA Network Open website.




About the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute

Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute (HHRI) is the research arm and a nonprofit subsidiary of Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., a comprehensive health system in Minneapolis. HHRI is one of the largest nonprofit medical research organizations in Minnesota and consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of all institutions receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health.


Media Contact:
Susan O’Reilly
Corporate Communications Manager
Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute

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