Postgrad Med J. 2021 Sep 29:postgradmedj-2021-140824. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2021-140824. Online ahead of print.
STUDY PURPOSE: Distrust of the healthcare system is longstanding in the black community. This may especially threaten the health of the population when a highly contagious infection strikes. This study aims to compare COVID-19-related perspectives and behaviours between hospitalised black patients who trust versus distrust doctors and healthcare systems.
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study at a tertiary care academic hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Hospitalised adult black patients without a history of COVID-19 infection were surveyed between November 2020 and March 2021 using an instrument that assessed COVID-19-related matters. Analyses compared those who trusted versus mistrusted doctors and healthcare systems.
RESULTS: 37 distrusting hospitalised black patients were compared with 103 black patients who trusted doctors and healthcare systems. Groups had similar sociodemographics (all p>0.05). Distrustful patients were less likely to think that they were at high risk of contracting COVID-19 (54.0% vs 75.7%; p=0.05), less likely to believe that people with underlying medical conditions were at higher risk of dying from the virus (86.4% vs 98.0%; p=0.01) and less likely to be willing to accept COVID-19 vaccination (when available) (51.3% vs 77.6%; p<0.01) compared with those who were trusting.
CONCLUSION: Healthcare distrustful hospitalised black patients were doubtful of COVID-19 risk and hesitant about vaccination. Hospitalisations are concentrated exposures to the people and processes within healthcare systems; at these times, seizing the opportunity to establish meaningful relationships with patients may serve to gain their trust.