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Patients don’t trust doctors

Healthcare facilities require additional independent oversight while diagnoses and prescriptions must be double-checked – at least according to the opinion of a significant number of Russians, found a nationwide poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTSIOM) among 1,600 people. The poll itself was ordered by the Platforma Social Engineering Center. The results were presented at a TASS news conference. 

Credit: Kirill Braga | RIAN

According to Kirill Rodin, VTSIOM Director for Government Relations, 75% of respondents said medical facilities must be subject to additional control while 41% poll takers double-check their diagnoses and prescriptions. Most of these people are aged 25 to 44. They were the ones who, after seeing a doctor, sought a second opinion and advice from their relatives or pharmacists.

The older generation, or Russians over 60, have the biggest trust for doctors (73% do not double-check their diagnoses and prescriptions).

“If we look at the medical services from this perspective, it has to be noted that the level of trust inside the healthcare system is rather low,” Kirill Rodin explained.

Patients also believe that the financing of public medical facilities must depend on the quality of their services (51% of poll takers). In case of a medical error, patients are ready to file complaints with prosecutors – at least this was the recommendation given by 42% of the respondents. Even fewer people believe it is possible to solve problems by appealing to insurance companies (23%) or insurance agents (14%). Still, 36% recommend addressing complaints to chief doctors (36%) or the Healthcare Ministry hotline (32%).

“Unfortunately, this statistics showing that 42% of Russians are ready to take legal action demonstrates a very complicated attitude towards medical doctors in our society,” said Alexander Grot, Chairman of the Healthcare Committee at Opora Russia.

An expert poll conducted by the Platforma Social Engineering Center also demonstrates an extremely acute problem with trust at all levels of the Russian healthcare system. The problem has been confirmed by both sides – patients and patient representing organizations as well as the medical community itself, representatives of insurance companies and administrative bodies.

Director General of the Platforma Social Engineering Center Alexei Firsov explained that the problem with trust could possibly be solved through both strategic initiatives related to changing the paradigm of the Russian healthcare system and tweaking existing instruments. The latter include toughening independent control over medical facilities, developing an institute of insurance agents and building a system for comprehensive quality assessment, improving the patient routing system and patient feedback channels.

Technology and primarily telemedicine must become an important aspect of solving the trust problem, Alexei Firsov noted. Today we have high hopes for telemedicine because it allows solving the problem of providing timely medical help, especially in the primary care segment. Of course, it also helps overcoming the misbalance in the quality of medical help between big cities and provinces. Firsov explained that this is the same digital platform that can lift interaction between patients and doctors to a new qualitative level.

By Olga Blinova

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