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Minerva Ginecologica 2020 February;72(1):25-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4784.20.04502-5


language: English

Female patient preferences regarding physician gender: a national survey

Tiffanie Y. TAM 1 , Austin M. HILL 1, Abigail SHATKIN-MARGOLIS 2, Rachel N. PAULS 1

1 Department of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, TriHealth, Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, USA; 2 Department of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Kaiser Permanente, Northern California, Dublin, CA, USA

BACKGROUND: The number of male medical students selecting Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) has declined in recent years. However, it is unclear whether patients prioritize a female provider. The aim of the study was to assess gender preferences amongst female patients regarding their OBGYN and other medical providers. A secondary aim was to evaluate qualities that are important to female patients regarding their OBGYN.
METHODS: This was a USA cross-sectional survey using an internet-based provider (SurveyMonkey®) in January 2019. A 19-item questionnaire was distributed to females aged 18-80. The survey queried demographics, gender preferences for medical providers and important qualities in selecting their OBGYN. A goal of 1000 responses was determined for the study.
RESULTS: One thousand and fifteen women completed the entire survey. Sixty-six percent of respondents (N.=667) preferred a female OBGYN, while 8% (N.=87) preferred male, 25% (N.=261) no preference. The majority (51%) voiced no gender preference regarding other providers (N.=521). When asked to rank the 3 most important qualities in selecting their OBGYN, experience (57%), knowledge (51%), reputation (35%) and personality (34%) were most frequently chosen amongst the top 3. Gender was listed among the 3 important qualities by only 8% (N.=88). Women who identified as single, <45 years of age, and nulliparous had a higher likelihood of preferring a female OBGYN (P<0.003).
CONCLUSIONS: Majority of women reported a female preference when selecting an OBGYN. However, when compared to other qualities, it is deemed less important. Male medical students considering OBGYN should be reassured by this information.

KEY WORDS: Training support; Mentors; Physicians; Gender identity; Patient preference

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