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Donna Marie Sevilla
Health Reporter

A Quebec study has reported that female doctors provide a better quality of care, but that male doctors are more productive.

Université de Montréal professor Régis Blais, who co-supervised the study, said that Valérie Martel, a student at Université Laval who conducted the study, approached him with the thesis that female doctors had a maternal instinct in comparison to males. Female doctors scored higher in who prescribed more eye exams, medications, procedures, and statins.

They spent a longer time on each appointment so the patient could go home with peace of mind.

“The difference between male and female decreases as we look at younger generations,” said Blais.

Humber anthropology professor John Steckley said gender roles play a large part in providing healthcare.

“The medical field can be very male-defined,” said Steckley.

Steckley has a male doctor and said he’s very thorough when it comes to regular appointments, but the male walk-in doctor he encountered at the Etobicoke hospital fracture clinic provided very little care.

Male doctors scored higher on productivity, reporting nearly 1000 more procedures than their female counterparts.

“Productive’ is a bad word. ‘Effective’ is a better word,” said Steckley. “The way we produce doctors is we reward marks, not social skills.”

Blais said being productive doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for patients and the healthcare system, but it’s possible to improve on the quality of care.

“Patients should be involved in their care. Ask, inquire. Like, ‘why should I not have that?’,” said Blais.

However, Alexandra D’Eca, 20, a student of Humber’s one-year general arts and science – science and health program, said that she’s tried asking.

“I had strep throat, but he was like, ‘okay, you can go’ and I didn’t know what it was. I tried to ask but he just told me to leave,” said D’Eca.

D’Eca said when she went to see a walk-in doctor for blood work, she had a female doctor who wanted to know her medical history and was very thorough.

The male walk-in doctors, however, didn’t ask for her medical history.

To read more about this article, visit Humber Et Cetera online: Female doctors give better quality care: study.