Trust as a Predictor of Patient Perceptions Regarding Overlapping Surgery and Trainee Independence


Objectives: To examine opinions on trainee independence and attending presence among a cross‐section of the general population and explore how perceptions of trust, past experiences, and demographics interacted with comfort consenting to these surgical scenarios. Study Design: Mixed‐methods. Methods: Based on prior qualitative analysis, we designed a survey of patient preferences and values that focused on trust in healthcare practitioners and processes, which also included comfort ratings of three surgical scenarios (including overlapping surgery). The survey was administered to a sample from the general public using Mechanical Turk. We identified discreet domains of trust and examined the association of responses to these domains with comfort ratings, prior healthcare experiences, and demographics. Results: We analyzed 225 surveys and identified four patient subgroups based on responses to the surgical scenarios. Subjects that were more comfortable with overlapping surgery were more trusting of trainees and delegation by the attending. Past experiences in healthcare (positive and negative) were associated with multiple domains of trust (in trainees, surgeons, and the healthcare system). Demographics were not predictive of trust responses or comfort ratings. Conclusion: Patients express varying degrees of comfort with overlapping surgery, and this is not associated with demographics. Past negative experiences have an impact on trust in the healthcare system overall, and trust in trainees specifically predicts comfort with attending absence from the operating room. Efforts to increase patient comfort with overlapping surgery and surgical training should include strategies to address past negative experiences and foster trust in trainees and the delegation process.

In The Laryngoscope