Healthcare, Retirement, Smart Spending

Sex is Not Relevant!

There exists a belief that if your doctor is a woman she will communicate better with you as a patient, you will live longer, and your health care costs will be lower than if your doctor is a man.

Sorry, but this is a myth!

There is no difference in the cost of care nor the longevity of patients no matter what sex your doctor is. Male and female doctors have equal costs of care and the same outcomes for similar patients.

According to an article in Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, a panel of investigators reviewed the heath records of more than 21,000 patients who had seen doctors between 2002 and 2008. Patients agreed to participate in the United States’ Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys for those years.

The lead study author Anthony Jerant, professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, Davis, said in a University news release that if an individual is looking to reduce health care costs along with the risk of death the study finding suggests that sex of the provider is not a factor.

Well, what is a factor then?

According to the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, an agency of the United States government the following are qualities to look for when choosing a physician:

  • Is rated to give quality care.
  • Has the training and background that meet your needs.
  • Takes steps to prevent illness (for example, talks to you about quitting smoking).
  • Has the training and background that meet your needs.
  • Has privileges at the hospital of your choice.
  • Is part of your health plan, unless you can afford to pay extra
  • Encourages you to ask questions.
  • Listens to you.
  • Explains things clearly
  • Treats you with respect

According to Dr. Jerant how you manage your own health care risks is going to influence your life expectancy and your health care costs. If you smoke or eat poorly and are obese or diabetic, your cost of care will be higher and your life expectancy lower. The sex of your doctor plays no role.

Jerant and his research team did find that female doctors were more likely than their peers who are men to treat female patients who were college educated, live in urban areas and were young. This suggests that certain groups of patients may have preferences for female or male physicians.

Take Away:

Your life expectency and cost of health care are not influenced by the gender of your primary care doctor.