Key takeaways in this post:

  • Trust affects a patient’s willingness to follow medical advice and take medications as prescribed.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, clear, reliable communication helped patients learn what to expect and how to access trusted medical care.
  • Reflect on past communications to uncover best practices, engage with patients’ questions and provide relevant information.
  • Use accessible language to remove barriers and ensure patients can easily understand healthcare information.
  • Building trust takes time and requires regular, reliable patient interactions.

Author: WG Content
Last updated: 8/17/22

As a healthcare marketer, trust is tricky to get and sometimes even trickier to give. Building trust in healthcare takes intentional effort. Plus, people are suspicious. Trust is more important than ever as our society continues to face the following challenges:

  • A lingering pandemic
  • Glaring gaps in racial justice and health equity
  • Misinformation
  • The continued threat of COVID-19, influenza and RSV

When you form a trusting relationship with patients, they know they can count on you. They believe their providers will listen to them and provide expert care. They also believe you’re providing them with evidence-based health information. Because they trust you, patients take an active part in their health.

While trust may seem intangible, trust in healthcare has a direct impact on a patient’s outcomes and overall health. It can make the difference in someone taking their medications as prescribed, asking the question they’ve been wondering about or even getting a vaccine.

Most healthcare organizations created a dedicated webpage for COVID-19 updates following the pandemic. Amid the confusion and constant change, these communication hubs helped patients know what to expect when they visited a facility for care and how to get trusted medical care and advice.

Although COVID-19 still poses a public health threat, it’s no longer the urgent emergency it once was. The threat from COVID-19 is becoming more like that of common respiratory viruses like the flu and RSV. So, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to help people lower their risk of contracting these illnesses.

Before returning to your “regular” communication style, consider how your organization can maintain and build upon the trust you have built.

A patient’s interactions with the people who care for them influence how much they trust their healthcare provider. But marketers can also help build trust through these practices.

1. Reflect on COVID-19 communications like a case study

Dissect what you’ve learned to uncover best practices for building trust.
Ask questions like:

  • What worked well, and what missed the mark?
  • Where did we see the most engagement?
  • What questions did patients ask? And how can we provide that type of information?
  • What do we wish we could have done differently?
  • What processes should we use to manage crisis communications better?
  • Did we use the right channels to reach our audiences?
  • Was our frequency of communication appropriate?

2. Be accurate and authentic

Healthcare is becoming increasingly polarized through politics, influencers and social media. To build trust, use reputable sources backed by science. And present that information in a way that feels authentic for your brand.

3. Show empathy

Healthcare is the business of helping people, so make sure that shows. WG Content’s Content Director Carol Williams shares these tips for communicating with empathy. She encourages marketers to use a caring and open voice in their content.

It’s easy to use. It also helps us better visualize complex projects.

4. Feature clinician experts

According to a report by Trilliant Health, trust in healthcare providers declined during the pandemic. To regain trust, feature clinical experts to reinforce your credibility and foster a sense of empathy.

5. Use plain language

Accessible language removes barriers. Don’t let healthcare buzzwords or complex topics get in the way of patient trust.

6. Employ a skilled writer and editor

Your readers won’t trust your message if it lacks the professional polish they expect from your organization. Think of it like a job interview.

You have the same qualifications whether you wear a suit or sweatpants, but your interviewer doesn’t know that. They just see what’s in front of them.

Well-written, well-edited copy can present your ideas in the best light and remove barriers (like troublesome typos or lapses in logic).

7. Keep at it

Trust doesn’t build after one interaction or even a few. It comes over time as you continue with regular, trustworthy communications and interactions. Make trust a key focus in your content, and you’ll build it brick by brick.

WG Content can help you build trustworthy content and communications. Learn more about our custom approach.

Trust in healthcare refers to patients’ confidence in their providers and the health system. It’s an essential part of quality healthcare delivery.

Maintaining trust with patients is crucial because it provides the following benefits:

  • Better patient outcomes
  • Improved communication and satisfaction
  • Positive reputation for healthcare providers

One way to build trust with your patients is to use a caring and empathetic tone in your content. You should also provide accurate and transparent information that can help them.

Want more insights on all things content?

Sign up for WG Content’s newsletter, Content Counts.