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Healthcare: Does Your Doctor's Gender Matter?

Posted by Brian Spence on Jan 20, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Gender Gap, Healthcare, Allied HealthGender equality in the medical field has come a long way since 1849, when Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States. Despite those changes, there still continues to be gender differences among doctors in the United States.

Recent studies, including one conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, have looked at some of these differences in the healthcare industry in the United States.

  • The Harvard study looked at more than 1.5 million patients 65 and older who were admitted to the hospital for non-surgical reasons. This included pneumonia, lung disease, intestinal bleeding, and urinary infections.

  • Of those patients treated primarily by female physicians, 11 percent died within 30 days of being in the hospital. Of those treated primarily by male physicians, 11.5 percent died within 30 days. While half a percentage may not seem significant, it is estimated that 32,000 lives would be saved if the male doctors' numbers were on par with their female counterparts.

  • Readmittance to the hospital within a month was 15 percent for patients treated by females and 15.5 percent for those treated by male doctors.

  • Despite the higher level of effectiveness for female doctors, studies show that male doctors make more than females. The average annual pay for white male doctors is $250,000. At an average annual salary of $163,000, their white female counterparts make almost $90,000 less each year.

  • Female doctors are also less likely to be promoted. Both the lower pay and lack of promotion could be attributed to some women taking time off to have children as well as the fact that there are higher rates of part-time employment for female doctors.

  • The more effective nature of the female doctors in the study can be attributed to an assortment of factors, including better communication with the patients. Female doctors are also more likely to follow preventive counseling recommendations and use preventative tests.

  • Even though women account for roughly half of obstetricians and gynecologists, they are underrepresented in some other specialties. For example, only 13 percent of cardiologists and 18 percent of surgeons are female.

Of course, we know that being a quality healthcare provider is not based solely upon a person's gender. If you are looking for a job in the healthcare industry or you are looking to fill a healthcare position at your business, contact us.


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