Oct 18, 2013 08:24 AM EDT
Female Doctors Care Better Than Male Doctors, Study
While female doctors nurse patients with more care, productivity of male doctors is greater, according to a new study conducted by researchers from University of Montreal.
The scientists took up the study to determine whether gender affects the quality of performance among practicing physicians. In the study, the 'quality of care' was defined as compliance with rules and guidelines.
"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," said lead study author Valérie Martel in an official statement.
The researchers arrived at the conclusion after studying the Canadian Diabetes Association's (CDA) guidelines. The rules require physicians to administer three specific medications and biennial eye exams. They then examined the data bank of the Quebec public health insurance board's medical-administrative, which includes detailed information on every medical procedure performed.
They found that female doctors followed the CDA's guidelines much better than their male counterparts. Around 75 percent of the female doctors asked their elderly diabetic patients to undertake the eye exam, in comparison with 70 percent of the male doctors. Female doctors also had an upper hand when it came to recommending medications - 71 percent versus 67 percent.
"People assume that women doctors spend more time with their patients, but it is difficult to observe in a scientific study. This study does just that," said Régis Blais, Professor at the Department of Health Administration, who co-supervised the study.
On the other hand, men ruled the productivity department. Male doctors were associated with nearly 1,000 more procedures every year when compared to female peers.
"My hypothesis was that the differences between male and female practices have diminished over time," Martel said. "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.
Martel and team said that further research is required to strengthen this finding. For example, the number of procedures might not be an accurate indicator of the productivity as patients might have come to the hospital several times because of the inadequate care they received.
"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," Blais said.
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