A study of the nature and level of trust between patients and healthcare providers, its dimensions and determinants: a scoping review protocol

BMJ Open. 2020 Jan 23;10(1):e028061. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028061.


Introduction: The aim of this scoping review is to systematically search the literature to identify the nature and or level of trust between the patient, the users of health services (eg, clients seeking health promotion and preventive healthcare services) and the individual healthcare providers (doctors, nurses and physiotherapists/ occupational therapists), across public and private healthcare sectors, at all levels of care from primary through secondary to tertiary care. It also aims to identify the factors that influence trust between patients, users of health services (clients) and providers of healthcare at all levels of care from primary care to tertiary care, and across all health sectors (public and private). The study will also identify the tools used to measure trust in the healthcare provider.

Methods and analysis: The scoping review will be conducted based on the methodology developed by Arksey and O'Malley's scoping review methodology, and Levac et al's methodological enhancement. An experienced information specialist (HM) searched the following databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. The search terms were both keywords in the title and/or abstract and subject headings (eg, MeSH, EMTREE) as appropriate. Search results were downloaded, imported and stored into a 'Refworks' folder specifically created for reference management. The preliminary search was conducted between 7 December 2017 and 14 December 2017. Quantitative methods using content analysis will be used to categorise study findings on factors associated with trust between patients, clients and healthcare providers. The collection of studies will be also examined for heterogeneity. Qualitative analysis on peer reviewed articles of qualitative interviews and focus group discussion will be conducted; it allows clear identification of themes arising from the data, facilitating prioritisation, higher order abstraction and theory development. A consultation exercise with stakeholders may be incorporated as a knowledge translation component of the scoping study methodology.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval will be obtained for the research project from the Institutional Review Board. The International Medical University will use the findings of this scoping review research to improve the understanding of trust in healthcare, in its endeavour to improve health services delivery in its healthcare clinics and hospitals, and in its teaching and learning curriculum. The findings will also help faculty make evidence based decisions to focus resources and research as well as help to advance the science in this area. Dissemination of the results of the scoping review will be made through peer-reviewed publications, research reports and presentations at conferences and seminars.

Keywords: level of Trust in healthcare; scoping review protocol.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Private Sector
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Public Sector
  • Research Design
  • Trust / psychology*