Women MDs Spend More Time With Patients: Does It Matter?

Shelly M. Reese


June 23, 2011

In This Article

Extra Minutes With Patients

In a 2002 analysis published in JAMA, Debra Roter, PhD, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Judith Hall, a psychologist at Northeastern University, reviewed and pooled results from 26 studies of physician-patient interaction. Those studies showed that female physicians spent an average of 10% more time or about 2 minutes longer with their patients.

But what's important isn't the extra time they spent with patients so much as what they were doing with that extra time, Roter says.

"There's a lot of literature that says medical training is like boot camp and no matter how you enter, you leave as a doctor, resocialized to communicate as a physician," she says.