MAR 20, 2023 10:00 AM PDT

Does Gender Influence Patient Preferences?

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A new study focused on the field of urology found that patients do not always prefer to be treated by a urologist of their gender. In fact, one finding revealed an interesting factor in urologist preference. In some circumstances, for both male and female patients they prefer a male urologist, but when the condition is painful the preference skews toward having a female doctor. The study was presented by researchers from University Hospital Munich at the European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress in Milan.

The study explored whether patients associated specific skills with certain genders by analyzing questionnaires from 1,012 patients visiting the hospital in 2021. Approximately three-quarters were male and a quarter female. Patients were from various educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. They ranged in age, although most were over 60 years old. They were under treatment for various conditions, so survey questions asked about the impact of health conditions on their lives. They also probed whether a male or female urologist would understand them better.

Two-thirds of patients preferred a particular gender in at least one scenario. Patients generally preferred a urologist of their own gender. However, both male and female patients preferred to see a male urologist when their conditions were debilitating, embarrassing or inconvenient. However, both male and female patients with a condition with painful symptoms stated they would opt for a female urologist. Both men and women believed urologists of their gender better understand their body. 

Men were more likely to assume male urologists had more practical skills than females, whereas women were more likely to think that a female urologist would be more empathetic.

Study author Dr. Carme Mir Maresma explained how her experiences as a practitioner align with the findings: “Patients’ preferences for their urologist tend to depend on their condition. I mainly treat patients with cancer, who are often very ill, and they don’t usually care about the gender of who is treating them, so long as they are well qualified.” Patients with conditions that are not life-threatening may be more likely to express a preference. 

Sources: Eureka News Alert, Patient Prefer Adherence




About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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