THE BLOG
12/18/2013 02:54 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2014

How Our Faith in Supermarkets, Nurses and Pharmacists Can Drive Health

The most trusted professions in America are nurses and pharmacists, says a Gallup Poll. The most trusted industries in the nation are supermarkets and hospitals, according to the latest Harris Poll.

Among the least-trusted industries in the U.S., associated with Big Oil and Big Tobacco, are health insurance, pharmaceuticals and managed care, Harris found.

Who we trust has a huge influence on who we engage with for health, we learned in the Edelman Health Barometer. Trust, authenticity and satisfaction are the top three factors that motivate us to engage with organizations when it comes to our health.

Grocery stores are morphing into health destinations, with pharmacies on site, health checks on the weekends, clinics dispensing flu shots, and healthy foods featured in end caps with messages about the benefits of quinoa co-promoting Meatless Mondays.

The Harris Poll also tells us that peoples' faith in lawmakers is as low as it's ever been -- roughly equivalent to that of car salespeople and ad agency folk -- health consumers will turn to the players in their communities that are trustworthy when it comes to health. The lackluster launch of the Health Insurance Exchanges on Oct. 1, 2013 may have pushed the trust equity factor down when the Harris Poll was taken in November 2013, a few weeks after the snafus with online insurance enrollment.

Health reform will take many forms, in both the public sector (on Healthcare.gov) and in the private sector (with employer-sponsored benefits promoting private exchanges and consumer-directed benefits). But the most significant health reform for people in the immediate term will happen at home, in our families and local communities. That is self-care, and especially what people can do via convenient, accessible retail formats in grocery stores, staffed with nutritionists and stocking health-oriented products; pharmacies, staffed by those highly-trusted pharmacists; retail clinics, staffed with nurse professionals whom American health citizens trust above all other workers in the nation; and in shopping malls, where hospitals have begun to locate urgent care clinics, open wellness stores, and promote healthy living.

Food and shopping: the combination may prove to be the most engaging way to drive health in America.