Women Doctors Win Out Over Males in Providing Quality Health Care

Not a big surprise.  A new survey has found that the care provided by female doctors is of a better quality than that that provided by males.  But male doctors are more productive.  I guess that's probably how it works together -- male doctors spend less time, get more done.

The study team reached this answer by looking at over 800 Quebec practitioners (half of whom were women), relating to their procedures with elderly diabetic patients but I'm sure it would be the same in this country!

"Women had significantly higher scores in terms of compliance with practice guidelines. They were more likely than men to prescribe recommended medications and to plan required examinations,” newswsie.com quotes lead study author Valérie Martel, with the Department of Health Administration.

In Quebec all patients aged 65 and over with diabetes must undergo an eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist every two years, according to the Web site. They must also receive three prescriptions for specific drugs, including statins, and it is recommended they undergo a complete medical examination annually.

"Among middle-aged doctors, three out of four women, for example, required their patients to undergo an eye examination vs. 70% of their male counterparts; 71% prescribed recommended medications compared to 67% of male doctors, and a similar proportion prescribed statins (68% vs. 64%); 39% of female doctors specifically asked their patients to undergo a complete examination (vs. 33% of male doctors)," newswise.com notes.

But, on average, male doctors saw far more patients -- reporting nearly 1,000 more procedures per year compared to their female counterparts.

 “My hypothesis was that the differences between male and female practices have diminished over time. It seemed to me that more and more men are taking time with their patients at the expense of productivity, and more and more women tend to increase their number of procedures. This aspect was shown: the younger the doctors, the less significant the differences,” Martel said in her master's thesis, done on this subject.

But hospitals are still looking for the ones who can process more patients.  While a more productive doctor would seem more “profitable” for a hospital, there is more than meets the eye in the long term, cautions . "Doctors who take the time to explain problems to their patients may avoid these patients returning after a month because they are worried about a detail. More productive physicians may not be the ones we think," Régis Blais, Professor at the Department of Health Administration, who co-supervised the study, told newswise.com.

“In particular, the cost-benefit ratio of greater quality combined with lower productivity should be examined.," he added.

Said Roxane Borges Da Silva, Professor at the Faculty of Nursing, who also co-supervised the study, "The differences remain significant. They tell us about the differences in medical practice that need to be taken into account.”


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