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Insights into Health Data Use
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EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY-ND licence.

This book explores the concept of public trust in health systems.

In the context of recent events, including public response to interventions to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination uptake and the use of health data and digital health, this important book uses empirical evidence to address why public trust is vital to a well-functioning health system.

In doing so, it provides a comprehensive contemporary explanation of public trust, how it affects health systems and how it can be nurtured and maintained as an integral component of health system governance.

Open access
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This chapter introduces the book by highlighting the current gaps in trust research and by explaining how this book contributes to closing these gaps. Conceptual clarity and appropriate health policy actions are needed to build public trust. A precise conceptual understanding of public trust is important to a) inform health system activities, health policy making and health system governance; b) inform health communication; and c) inform public trust surveillance. Building on existing literature, this book is influenced by previous work from the fields of health policy, governance and the social sciences. The conceptual guidance itself is derived from new qualitative data about public trust in the health system. Lastly, the introduction will provide an overview of the following chapters.

Open access
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This chapter explains the basic components of trust. In anticipation of a benefit, trust is a relational construct building on truthful communication and autonomous choices. However, there is no guarantee that trust will be established. The introduction will help to better navigate more complex trust concepts such as public trust.

Open access
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This chapter discusses health system activities that particularly depend on high levels of public trust. The three examples are vaccination uptake, the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and health data use in health systems. All three health system activities are useful to explain how public trust develops in the health system context and what the role of public trust is for the success of the three health system activities.

Open access
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This chapter explains how public trust develops in the public sphere. Different health system actors, societal actors and members of the public come together to discuss experiences and perceptions of the health system. This discourse takes place in public fora such as social media or social gatherings. The exchange of truthful information is critical for public trust, which makes public trust vulnerable to misinformation and conspiracy.

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This chapter discusses 13 conceptual themes that contribute to building public trust in health data use in health systems. A range of health system activities, familiarity with the health system and future anticipations about a net benefit build public trust. Privacy protection, data security and anonymity are critical for public trust in health data use within health systems, that includes research.

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This chapter discusses the two main effects resulting from public trust in the health system. When the public trusts the health system, the public participates in health system activities. By trusting the health system, the public legitimises the health system and its activities.

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This chapter discusses nine themes that frame public trust building. These themes do not directly contribute to public trust building but can have a strong influence on the public trust-building process. All themes are important to consider as they provide information about the wider sociopolitical context.

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This chapter discusses how appropriate health policy and health system governance can contribute to maintain public trust or to build public trust where needed. Based on the conceptualisation of public trust presented in this book, eight public trust-building guiding principles are presented that should inform the design of health policy and health system activities. Firm engagement in public discourses is imperative to communicate and discuss different health system activities with the public. Health system actors need to constantly work towards building and maintaining public trust in an ever-evolving health system.

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This chapter emphasises the importance of communication for public trust. If there is no communication and exchange of information, public trust will not develop. Several communication guidelines exist that accommodate trust. Building on these guidelines, and the conceptual work presented in this book, this chapter discusses ten considerations useful for those designing public trust-building communication strategies.

Open access