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May 2, 2017

Challenges and Opportunities in Disclosing Financial Interests to Patients

Author Affiliations
  • 1Departments of Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
JAMA. 2017;317(17):1743-1744. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.2656

Health care is built on trust. Although health care–related trust has multiple dimensions, the most fundamental is the patient’s trust that his or her physician will always put the interest of the patient first—including before the physician’s financial gain. This trust arises from perceptions of the physician’s expertise and competence, beliefs about the physician’s values and professionalism, and direct experiences with caring and communication. Despite its critical importance for effective health care, trust has declined in health care, as well as many other segments of US society, over recent decades.1,2 Between the 1960s and 2012, the proportion of the US public reporting great confidence in the leaders of the medical profession declined from 73% to 34%.1