Must We Bust the Trust?: Understanding How the Clinician-Patient Relationship Influences Patient Engagement in Safety

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2018 Dec 5;2018:1425-1434. eCollection 2018.


Although patients desire safe care, they are reluctant to perform safety-related behaviors when they worry it could harm the relationships they have with clinicians. This influence of the clinician-patient relationship on patient engagement in safety is poorly understood, and most patient-facing safety interventions ignore its influence, focusing instead on helping patients access information about their care and report errors. We conducted semi-structured interviews with hospitalized patients to uncover their needs for patient-facing information systems that could help them prevent medical errors. We found that the clinician-patient relationship could either encourage or discourage patients and caregivers from engaging in patient safety actions. We describe our findings and discuss the implications for the design of patient-facing interventions to promote patient engagement in safety. Our findings shed light on how patient-facing safety interventions can be designed to effectively engage patients and caregivers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Trust