Patient care and the growth of a successful healthcare system depend on the trust between providers and patients. However, historical events, current prejudices, and the perception of stigma can prevent patients from receiving the care or proper treatment. Medical misconceptions can have a significant impact and perpetuate continuing health inequities. Recent research by Williamson et al. (2019) demonstrates that health mistrust can significantly affect an individual’s possibility of engaging in the healthcare services such as prevention of diseases, treatment, and health check-ups. Hence, using available scholarly works on medical mistrust, this paper identifies the main factors leading to individual distrust in healthcare systems and provides recommendations on tackling each of the identified issues.
Most health research studies reveal that past and ongoing health inequities substantially affect an individual’s likelihood of accessing health services. People are conscious of choosing whether to access healthcare services because this process includes sharing their life experiences with others. For instance, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 disease has severe implications on an individual’s probability of engaging in healthcare arrangements.
Coronavirus is transmitted through physical contact with an infected object or person, which makes individuals restrain from accessing healthcare services. Health institutions’ reports on the inadequacy of preventive gear and medication to treat the overwhelming COVID-19 patients generate mistrust among healthcare systems (Bogart et al., 2020). However, healthcare systems’ public perception is reversible, and health stakeholders should invest heavily in achieving an excellent public image for health facilities. For instance, government and health providers should ensure that health facilities are adequately equipped to manage coronavirus patients.
Another cause of mistrust among people is that social discrimination entails racism, ethnicity, and minority group isolation. In their study, Bazargan et al. (2021) associate ethnicity and racism with people’s wariness in healthcare systems. Kelman’s (2020) survey study on adults on the issue of serious illness and end-of-life and, through cross-examination of acquired data, confirmed that race and minority group discrimination significantly influence mistrust development in health institutions.
The analysis of data from 2588 participants, including 913 non-Hispanic White adults, 704 non-Hispanic Black adults, and 711 Hispanic adults, revealed a clear correlation between perceived bias and medical skepticism (Bazargan et al., 2021). The study showed that the lack of adherence to care plans, negative health habits, and undesired health outcomes among minority groups are related to patient distrust.
Other attributable factors causing public mistrust include a bias toward health workers, past poor relationships with the healthcare system, and poor services. The rebuilding of trust in the healthcare system is relevant in delivering health care to people. Remedies available to public health mistrust include improving service delivery, training programs for health officers to increase patient relationships, and policy modifications in the medical systems.
Additionally, in research, most available studies are related to health inequities and their association with public mistrust; hence, this paper recommends the need for more practical research to understand how medical mistrust is affected by dynamic social, economic, psychological, and historical factors. This line of analysis can, in turn, inform the design of multilevel group- and theory-based training models to improve the institutional competency of health care practitioners to minimize medical mistrust.
Thus, the presented information makes me believe that medical misconceptions can negatively impact an individual’s life and make people feel disgusted and afraid. This state of affairs can establish essential barriers for individuals to access healthcare services and improve their well-being. That is why I am sure that specific actions are required to address this situation and ensure that medical mistrust and discrimination are not present in the medical industry.
Bazargan, M., Cobb, S., & Assari, S. (2021). Discrimination and medical mistrust in a racially and ethnically diverse sample of California adults. The Annals of Family Medicine, 19(1), 4–15. Web.
Bogart, L. M., Ojikutu, B. O., Tyagi, K., Klein, D. J., Mutchler, M. G., Dong, L., Lawrence, S. J., Thomas, D., & Kellman, S. (2020). COVID-19 related medical mistrust, health impacts, and potential vaccine hesitancy among black Americans living with HIV. JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Advanced online publication. Web.
Williamson, L. D., Smith, M. A., & Bigman, C. A. (2019). Does discrimination breed mistrust? Examining the role of mediated and non-mediated discrimination experiences in medical mistrust. Journal of Health Communication, 24(10), 791–799. Web.