Trust-Related Heuristics and Biases: How Do We Trust Healthcare Systems?

AbstractAn online questionnaire attempted to reveal the heuristics and biases used when participants reflected on their trust in a healthcare system. Participants answered quantitative questions related to six different heuristics and biases, which revealed their propensity for exhibiting each heuristic, before rating healthcare systems on seven trust-related metrics: resource allocation; access to treatment; honesty, integrity and intention; competence; quality; safety; and equality. Multiple regressions tested whether the predictive power of heuristics and biases on trust ratings was significantly moderated by the relative proportion of patients receiving service in the public and private sector. Results revealed that heuristics and biases significantly impacted thought processes when arriving at assessments of participants’ willingness to trust. As trust in major institutions declines, this presents the scientific and medical communities with relevant data to potentially alter practices and communication approaches in a way that fosters trust.

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