Post written by Pascale Anglade, MD, MBA, from the Digestive Disease Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Studies have shown that physician gender can be a factor in patient-related outcomes. The goal of our perspective article was to review the current understanding, both in the U.S. and internationally, of patient-provider gender preferences for endoscopic procedures.
This study is important in that it raises awareness of patient-physician gender concordance in endoscopy as a possible barrier to care, especially for our female patients.
We also share our unique perspective from our endoscopic practice located in a tertiary medical center in the Middle East, where culturally, female patients have preferred receiving care from female physicians.
Only a small number of published studies have examined this topic and are mostly Western-centric, highlighting a striking lack of information from multiple regions of the world. Our review found that across the globe, a significant proportion of women patients expressed preference for gender concordant endoscopists, and that the preference held true across racial, ethnic, and cultural contexts. Patients were also willing to delay procedures until their preference was accommodated, potentially leading to delayed diagnosis and care.
These real-life implications of provider gender preferences seen in our patient population has led to the creation of the “For Women by Women” endoscopy service at our home institution. This represents a multidisciplinary exclusively female team of endoscopists, anesthesiologists, nurses, and all other caregivers from registration to discharge. All patients, male and female, are given the option of choosing their endoscopist’s gender upon scheduling, and female patients are also given the option of the all-female team.
Being cognizant of the fact that at this time not all institutions have the resources and manpower to implement such services, we discuss other strategies to minimize patients’ embarrassment with the ultimate goal of improving compliance. Ultimately, it is our belief that increasing the number of women endoscopists and strategies to close the gender gap in academic gastroenterology and leadership roles is critical to addressing the needs of our patients.
Read the full article online.
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