How Gender Differences Can Help You To Improve Patient Experience
Posted by Shelley Thomson -
A few months a Melbourne GP clinic hit the headlines because it charges more to see the female doctors.
There was an uproar about gender tax. The government got involved, and discrimination cries echoed from the social media soapbox.
But recent research suggests that the clinic may have been on the right track.
When it comes to patient experience and outcomes, gender differences matter. And for female patients, in particular, it could be a life or death decision.
Of course, the media took this as an opportunity to bash men and cry foul. But they missed the real point of these findings.
Why are female doctors getting better outcomes… and how can you use these findings to improve the patient experience in your practice.
That’s what I want to cover in this article.
The Studies That Say Female
Doctors Are Better Than Male Doctors
In the US study, researchers followed 580,000 patients over 20 years. They tracked patient outcomes and the gender of the treating doctors in Florida ERs.
At the end of the study, the researchers analysed the results. They found that having a female doctor improves outcomes and patient experience.
The research backs up an earlier Harvard study with a similar effect. In that study, Harvard researchers analysed over 1 .5 million hospitalisations. They found that patients treated by female physicians had a lower chance of dying. They also have a lower chance of readmission.
The results are clear. Female doctors seem to have the edge. But the most critical question is “Why?”.
What Are Female Doctors Doing Differently And How
Can These Gender Differences Improve Patient Experience?
The answer is empathy.
Female doctors show more compassion than male doctors.
- They listen more.
- They ask more questions about feelings and emotions.
- They spend more time with their patients.
In short, they treat the patient like a person, rather than a set of symptoms.
This patient first approach leads people to trust the medical professional more. They open up and share their concerns. This gives doctors more information to work with. It improves compliance and helps to ensure better outcomes.
Not only that, the patient will have a better experience. They will recommend your practice to loved ones. And you will get more referrals so your practice grows.
It seems like a win-win situation.
But what if you don’t run an
all-female Amazonian practice?
Well, there’s no reason that male doctors or other staff can’t take this approach too. Caring is not a trait exclusive to women.
The key is to realign your practice as a patient centred organisation. Gender differences should not prevent that.
And once you do that, everyone will fall into the habit of putting patients first… regardless of their gender or position.
In my book, Patients For Life, I discuss how to realign a practice to deliver exceptional patient experience and outcomes. You can find out more about the book by clicking here.