Study: Patients who distrust health systems postpone treatment

Patients who don't trust their healthcare system may be paying a bigger price than they think--and the healthcare system, too. A new study concludes that patients who put themselves at risk by putting off treatment may be harming their health and raising health system costs overall.

The study, which appears in Health Services Research, surveyed 401 largely black Baltimore, MD residents. It asked respondents about their attitudes toward the healthcare system and health providers, such as hospitals, doctors and insurance companies.

Researchers concluded that people who doubted that the healthcare system was trustworthy were more likely to ignore medical advice, including putting off care that doctors said was necessary. They also were more prone to neglect follow-up appointments and prescriptions fillings.

Given their level of distrust, it's more likely that such patients will make malpractice as well, researchers noted.

To learn more about this study:
- read this HealthDay News piece