This spring, retired Director of Oral Health at Guangdong General Hospital in China, Chen Zhongwei, was attacked and killed by a patient he treated more 20 years earlier. The patient had claimed he was entitled to compensation for a discoloured tooth. He followed the dentist home and stabbed him over 30 times.
Sadly, this story is not an uncommon one in China with the distrust between patients and physicians described a ‘endemic’ by Joseph D. Tucker, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and director of UNC Project-China.
The initiative has been launched to rebuild patient-physician trust through in-depth interviews with patients, physicians, and health administrators to better understand patient-physician relationship in China.
Medical humanities training within medical education could help increase physicians’ ability to communicate better with their patients and establish trust.
"Trust is not a simple construct and rebuilding it will take time, energy, and resources," Tucker said. "The lingering mistrust in China should be seen as opportunity to do better. This is not about pointing fingers, but rather about figuring out how to move forward."
The research also laid the foundation for a Shanghai conference on patient-physician trust. Tucker along with colleagues from Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Otago in New Zealand organised the two-day conference at the Harvard Centre Shanghai. The aim was to develop actionable recommendations for rebuilding patient-physician trust in China.
The multi-disciplinary team comprised leading public health officials, philosophers, lawyers, medical doctors, private sector leaders, and medical ethicists. This multi-disciplinary group created a list of recommendations to help rebuild patient-physician trust in China.
The next step of the patient-physician trust initiative is the use of a participatory campaign to involving crowd sourcing for messaging to rebuild patient-physician trust.
Source: Eureka Alerts
Image Credit: Medscape