Washington, Oct 8: A new study claims that the quality of care provided by female doctors is higher than that of their male counterparts, while the productivity of males is greater.
The research team from University of Montreal reached this conclusion by studying the billing information of over 870 Quebec practitioners (half of whom were women) relating to their procedures with elderly diabetic patients.
"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," lead study author Valerie Martel, who devoted her master's thesis with the Department of Health Administration to the subject, said.
To assess quality of care, the researchers relied on the recommendations of the Canadian Diabetes Association, which provides clear guidelines for clinical treatment of the disease.
All patients aged 65 and over with diabetes must undergo an eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist every two years.
They must also receive three prescriptions for specific drugs, including statins, and it is recommended they undergo a complete medical examination annually.
Since the Quebec public health insurance board (Regie de l'assurance maladie du Quebec) medical-administrative data bank includes comprehensive information on every medical procedure, the researchers were able to measure these variables.
In each case, statistical tests confirm a significant difference between men and women.
Among middle-aged doctors, three out of four women, for example, required their patients to undergo an eye examination vs. 70 percent of their male counterparts; 71 percent prescribed recommended medications compared to 67 percent of male doctors, and a similar proportion prescribed statins (68 percent vs. 64 percent); 39 percent of female doctors specifically asked their patients to undergo a complete examination (vs. 33 percent of male doctors).
In terms of productivity, there is a reversal. On average, male doctors reported nearly 1,000 more procedures per year compared to their female counterparts. (ANI)