By Viktoria Abelson
Senior Consultant – Healthcare
We talk a lot about building trust in healthcare. Trust is one of, if not the most important characteristic that a provider, physician group, or hospital must embody. Patients must have trust in order to follow medical advice or put themselves in the care of medical providers.
Trust has to be there for the sake of the patient care experience. You can find countless articles, videos, and books designed to help foster this trust.
However, there is less information on how to build trust in healthcare.
In hospitals, physician groups, and back offices throughout the country, you frequently find a leader (many, many leaders) promoted from within.
We trust them to do a good job and reward them with a promotion. Here are a few examples:
- A nurse with excellent bedside manner, quality outcomes, and timely responses promoted to a Unit
- A physician with excellent patient satisfaction scores, good clinical outcomes, and an interest in leading promoted to Division
- A coder with 17 years of coding experience promoted to Revenue Cycle
This is great! Great employees are rewarded for the work that they do: they are given greater responsibility, prestige, compensation, etc. for the work that they have done.
Now the work begins again. These new leaders must build trust in a whole new way. They must earn it not just from their leaders and patients, but also from their teams.
This is easier said than done, especially when asked to lead a team of people that do the same work they were just doing a day before.
Three Practical Tools for Building Trust in Healthcare:
1.) Listen. Listen.
You may think you know what the problems and opportunities are. After all, you were just in your team’s shoes. You may well be right, but listening shows that you care and that you are coming into a new role with an open mind.
Listening builds trust.
2.) Ask open-ended questions.
A closed-ended question invites a yes/no response. An open-ended question invites dialogue and collaboration.
3.) Accept that you don’t know all the answers.
You may be the leader now, but your team helped get you there. Work with them. Show them that you trust them to do their jobs well. Trust them and likewise, the favor will be returned.