Purpose: To investigate the effect of a one-day workshop in which physicians were taught trust-building behaviors on their patients' levels of trust and on outcomes of care.
Method: In 1994, the study recruited 20 community-based family physicians and enrolled 412 consecutive adult patients from those physicians' practices. Ten of the physicians (the intervention group) were randomly assigned to receive a one-day training course in building and maintaining patients' trust. Outcomes were patients' trust in their physicians, patients' and physicians' satisfaction with the office visit, continuity in the patient-physician relationship, patients' adherence to their treatment plans, and the numbers of diagnostic tests and referrals.
Results: Physicians and patients in the intervention and control groups were similar in demographic and other data. There was no significant difference in any outcome. Although their overall ratings were not statistically significantly different, the patients of physicians in the intervention group reported more positive physician behaviors than did the patients of physicians in the control group.
Conclusions: The trust-building workshop had no measurable effect on patients' trust or on outcomes hypothesized to be related to trust.