As anyone who's ever seen an episode of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman can tell you, women make better doctors than men — and not just the lady doctors of the late -1800s American West, but the lady doctors of today, too! I know, I can hardly believe it myself, but a new report released by the University of Montreal confirms: Female doctors outperform male doctors on practically all metrics of patient care.
Researchers Valérie Martel, Régis Blais and Roxanne Borges Da Silv looked at 870 physicians (half men, half women), all of whom were treating patients with diabetes — a condition that requires rigorous treatment and frequent doctor's visits.
To compare if a doctor’s gender affected patient behavior, the researchers evaluated physicians on three parts of standard diabetes treatment: prescribing periodic eye exams, scheduling frequent physical check-ups and keeping their patients on some mix of three different medications, such as statins to control cholesterol. On all of the metrics, the female doctors beat the males.
Women were also more likely to play by the rules of their practice. As researcher Martel said in a statement, “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.”
One reason the researchers gave for women outperforming men was the male doctors' tendency to rush appointments. On average, the men performed about 1,000 more basic treatment procedures per year and cycled through their patients at a faster rate than their female counterparts. Unfortunately, this meant patients often left the office confused and would return again later with questions they felt weren't answered at the first appointment.
In encouraging news, younger male doctors were far more likely to exhibit a less-hurried and more thorough and caring bedside manner, suggesting that the men's rankings will improve once the older generation of male physicians have aged out of the system.