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Book and Media Reviews
May 10, 2006

Health Care, Trust

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;295(18):2187-2192. doi:10.1001/jama.295.18.2189

In his recent State of the Union address, President Bush, in a list of goals for health care, mentioned “strengthen the doctor-patient relationship” after “confront the rising cost of care.” Nothing was said about the reconciliation of these two goals. Patricia Illingworth's Trusting Medicine is an attempt to examine the implications of “aggressively managed care” for the patient-physician relationship and, especially, for patient trust in physicians, for general levels of trust, and for social capital. The focus on trust is timely, and in the last decade articles on the subject have appeared in leading medical, health policy, and legal journals from contributors such as Jerome Kassirer, Audiey Kao, Mark Hall, and M. Gregg Bloche. Social capital, a protean concept highlighting the contribution of social networks to cooperation and various kinds of societal success, is also of great current interest.