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An increasingly polarised world offers the opportunity for healthcare organisations to build trust by turning inwards

By Dr Eleanor Read


The start of 2019 saw a global return to record highs of trust inequality, with a large gap in trust levels between the informed public and mass population.

Despite this divergence in trust, the world is united on one front – an urgent desire for change. The largest annual survey of trust in the world – the Edelman Trust Barometer – showed nearly half of the mass population believe that the system is failing them, yet there is one relationship that remains strong: ‘my employer’.

Fifty-eight percent of general population employees say they look to their employer to be a trustworthy source of information about contentious societal issues. Layer this with a cautiously optimistic picture of trust in the health sector and it poses an exciting context – ideal for people and organisations wanting to shake things up.

Overall trust levels in health globally increased in 23 of the 26 markets surveyed – including the UK. The sub-sectors of health showed small improvements from previous years, with pharma and consumer health showing two point gains (scores of 57 and 59) and biotech/life sciences increasing by one point (score of 62), while hospitals/clinics declined by a point (score of 71).

While it is likely that there are many causes for a lack of trust in the sector, the results offer a huge opportunity for healthcare organisations that are looking to improve their trust and credibility.

Globally, 75% of people trust ‘my employer’ to do what is right, significantly more than NGOs (57%), business (56%) and media (47%). Activating employee voices – including those of both technical experts and regular employees – is an increasingly powerful way to improve message impact and resonance, and to meaningfully engage your workforce.

Employees who have trust in their employer are far more likely to engage in beneficial actions on their behalf – so if you’re looking to build trust in your health-related business, perhaps the first step is looking to build champions from within.

Dr Eleanor Read, Senior Director, Edelman

In association with


22nd May 2019


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