Someone once said, “Trust is a fragile thing. Easy to break, easy to lose, and one of the hardest things to ever get back.” It is a particularly fragile thing when it comes to a person’s health care. Trust is influenced by a person’s expectations, past experiences, and current emotional status. When trust is eroded, it’s hard to win back. It is important for every person working in healthcare settings to understand how his or her words and actions contribute.
In my keynotes and training sessions, I talk a lot about trust in relation to the patient experience. In fact, our mystery shopping services have expanded greatly over the past three years because more and more leaders are seeing the need to understand how the current patient experience influences trust and, ultimately, the likelihood of recommending. When we are summarizing our mystery shopping experiences for clients, we often show photos taken of their facilities and share stories. In each opportunity, we indicate how the situation either contributed to the patient’s experience or eroded it.
Everyone Is Different
Trust erodes with one bad encounter or over a series of poorly handled situations. No two individuals gauge their situations exactly the same. “Trust-breakers” can be anything from a dirty bathroom or unanswered light to incorrect treatments or rude behaviors. Regardless, it’s important for everyone to know that they are the keepers of the patient trust. Guard it with your life.