Supermarkets and Hospitals Are Most Honest & Trustworthy Harris poll 12-13

See the yellow highlighted rows? That single yellow bar at the top, that’s hospitals; at the bottom, you’ll see pharma, health insurance, and managed care.

Hospitals, trusted; pharma, insurance, managed care? Down south on the trust barometer with oil, tobacco, phone companies and social media.

The Harris Poll has gauged U.S. consumers’ views on honesty and trustworthiness across industries for the past ten years. Over those ten years, trust in these industries has eroded, from huge falls-from-grace for banks (a 17 point fall), packaged food (falling 12 points), and computer hardware and software substantially falling, as well.

Hospitals are joined by supermarkets as the most-trusted industries – but both of these industry sectors have also dropped in consumer faith, by 6 and 10 points, respectively.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Pharma, health insurance and managed care (HMOs) have been lumped at the bottom of the trust barrel with Big Oil and Big Tobacco for the better part of the past decade. The nadir of pharma reputation in this poll was in 2006, when only 6% of Americans told Harris that the pharmaceutical industry was generally honest and trustworthy. The segment rebounded a bit in 2007-2012 (with a downtick in 2008) with the advent of the passage and implementation of Medicare Part D.

Will the health insurance and managed care segments rebound in a year or two once the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces start working and getting traction with consumers signing up for health insurance? As this poll was conducted in the second and third week of November 2013, about six weeks following the launch of the health insurance exchanges, the health insurance industry may well have been tarred with the negative initial experience of the ACA launch: note that in 2012, health insurance and managed care peaked at 11% and 9%. While these numbers aren’t resounding A+s for the industries, they were several point increases in trust-valuation over the 2011.

That hospitals fell by a large 8 point drop, from 36% of people calling them trustworthy in 2012 to 28% of people considering hospitals trustworthy is a huge drop in trust-equity for this usually-high trust industry.

The Gallup poll on most-trusted professions, discussed yesterday in Health Populi here, found that nurses rank #1, followed by pharmacists, above all other professions. The health industry — and hospitals in particular — have a reason to boost the profile (and pay) for nurses, who carry with them personal trust equity that institutions can leverage. Nurses and pharmacists will be front-line in carrying out health reforms for real people, consumers, and caregivers, in whatever forms those reforms take — in hospitals, grocery store pharmacies, and retail pharmacies.

And that grocery store/supermarket that Harris finds so trustworthy? The supermarket is another key health destination where health can be delivered, 24×7, away from the hospital and doctor’s office.