Building Cooperation and Trust in the Field of Healthcare

April 7th brainstorming session discussion summary

Foundation Pasteur Japon

What are some ongoing challenges to consider?

  • Communication/cultural differences between the West and East (for example: France and Japan)
    • In Japan, doctors usually act as the higher authority over the patient, but the Western way of thinking (the patient acts as the higher authority) is increasing around the world
    • However, the relationship between doctors and patients has changed; nowadays, doctors need to explain, not only tell, what is going on to patients to gain their trust
  • Immunization can be a controversial topic
    • Immunization occurs when one is healthy vs. other medications are used when one is sick, making it more likely that patients/people will not follow recommendations from doctors/health authorities
    • Immunization is not taught as much in Japanese medical schools compared to American medical schools
    • Education at a young age will make it more likely that people will follow recommendations
    • There are valid opinions on both sides of the argument; learning about both sides is important
  • Whether people trust or do not trust information depends on the source of the information
    • During the 1990s, Japan introduced sanitary association systems during cholera (information conveyed by municipalities to citizens and they were well-trusted)
    • After Fukushima nuclear incident, distrust toward the Japanese government grew
  • Classifying society into a single unit may be too much of a simplification
    • Science cannot be classified into a single unit as well
  • Science literacy – important for people to come up with their own informed opinion on topics and issues in the science field

What are some conclusions made/goals to strive for?

  • Gaining the public’s trust is key
    • Opponents can be vocal; they also have the right to be heard and have their issues addressed
    • Gaining trust takes time yet is very easy to lose
  • Too much competition in science is not good because it can breed corruption and mistrust; cooperation is key among social scientists and medical professionals
  • Social media can be dangerous as it is sensational and can spread false information quickly, but if used correctly and ethically can be a great tool to communicate ideas to the public
  • Quality of science is impacted by the condition of work, so improving the latter will improve the former
  • Use scientific evidence to find solutions and plan actions

General questions for the future

  • What is the current goal at hand regarding this topic?
  • How can scientists be sensitive to varying views about science?
  • Who verifies the information that is released to the public?
  • What are the viewpoints of the stakeholders (general public) involved?
  • What is trust in science like now compared to different periods in the past?
  • How does one verify that there is a “trust in science”?
  • What is the government’s role in science and what is it aiming to do?

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