Female Doctors Are Better Than Male Peers in Delivering Quality Care, But Face Pay Gap Issues: Survey

superiority of female medical practitioners
A female doctor examines the ear canal of a Caucasian adult female patient.

When Jennifer Lawrence decried Hollywood’s gender pay inequality a year ago, she may as well have spoken for the medical profession. A recent study uncovered that though female doctors in the U.S. tend to be better in what they do, their pay scale is not at par with their male peers.

Yes, pay gaps intertwined with gender issues are not confined to the entertainment industry alone. The medical profession, which is increasingly conscious of delivering quality patient outcomes, also has prevalent pay gap issues.

Female doctors having lesser research funding or lower salaries than their male counterparts may be attributed in part to the “disproportionate domestic responsibilities” female medical practitioners have, including maternity leave.

The other rather interesting finding, based on what Harvard researchers learned, is that there appears to be a marked difference in patient outcomes between those treated by male physicians and their female counterparts.

Survey On Female Doctors Better Than Male Peers

The study, published online this Dec. 19, 2016 in the JAMA Internal Medicine, was made using a random sample of Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S. The respondents hovered in the 65 years-and-above bracket who were treated by general internists for three years.

It turns out those patients who were cared for by female physicians had significantly lower mortality rates and readmission rates than those handled by male physicians in the same hospital.

In her editorial in the same medical journal, Dr. Rita Redberg, a Professor of Medicine, and Dr. Anna Parks, resident physician of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, cited the advantages that female physicians have over male doctors in terms of being more encouraging, reassuring and patient-focused in their communication style.

Redberg and Parks underscored the sad reality of female internists delivering higher quality care for hospitalized patients get less pay than their male peers in the academic setting.  They maintained that it should push those at the helm of healthcare to “create systems that promote equity in start-up packages, career advancement, and remuneration for all physicians.”

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