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Int J Health Plann Manage. 2018 Aug 15. doi: 10.1002/hpm.2597. [Epub ahead of print]

International variations in trust in health care systems.

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School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Biostatistics, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Health Policy and Management, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.


Public trust in health care systems has been measured in many countries, but there have been few studies of the intercountry variability in trust, or the degree to which such variability is because of population or structural characteristics. We used data from the health care survey conducted by the International Social Survey Program from 2011 to 2013 in 31 countries to assess whether intercountry variability was significantly greater than intracountry variability using general linear models in which country was treated as a fixed factor. We also assessed the extent to which intercountry variability was because of respondent and economic circumstances (gross national income per capita). Public trust in the health care system varied significantly across countries (P < .001), even after adjustment for 8 within-country predictors and gross national income per capita. One of the strongest predictors of trust was the respondents' most recent health care experience. Higher respondent education, urban residence, and a lower country's gross national income predicted less trust in the health care system. After countries with the 10% highest health expenditures per capita (United States) and the 10% lowest health care expenditures per capita (China and the Philippines) were removed, public trust in the health care system was positively associated with the remaining countries' health care expenditures per capita (Pearson correlation coefficient, 0.490; P = .008) and gross national income per capita (Pearson correlation coefficient, 0.495; P = .007). There is significant variation in public trust in health care across the countries studied. The intercountry differences are due, in part to economic circumstances.


patient experiences; trust in health care


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