Does physician gender effect ordering practice.
Garza N, Georgie F, Horbal A, Willens DE, and Haftka-George AC. Does physician gender effect ordering practice. J Gen Intern Med 2017; 32(2):S169.
J Gen Intern Med
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer cases represent 14.6% of all new cancer diagnosis in the United States. However, medical societies disagree when, and how often, we should be screening. The United States Preventative Service Task Force recommends starting at 50 years of age and screening biennially, while others recommend starting at 40 years of age, or screening annually. This has created an environment where physicians must decide which guideline is best for their patients. We sought to find out what factors influence this decision, specifically if the gender of the ordering physician was associated with different screening practices in women aged 40-49. METHODS: We examined every office visit for female patients age 40-49 with an internal medicine (IM), family medicine (FM) or gynecology (Gyn) provider in our health system between July 1, 2015 to May 30, 2016. Patients with a history of breast cancer or other malignant neoplasm were excluded. The association between physician gender and mammogram ordering rates was assessed via chi-squared testing. Other factors, such as comparison between specialties, were assessed via multivariable binary logistic regression. RESULTS: In female patients aged 40-49, female physicians are more likely to order mammograms than male physicians overall. This disparity between genders was largest in internal medicine. Gynecology physicians order mammograms at a higher rate than internal medicine or family medicine physicians. Women aged 45-49 were more likely to receive a mammogram order than women aged 40-44. Also, black patients were less likely to receive a mammogram order compared to white patients. CONCLUSIONS: Physician ordering practices do appear to vary by gender, however, this pattern is also influenced by specialty. The decision also seems to be effected by the age and/or race of the patient. The results of this study support the need for more research in factors contributing to preventive healthcare disparities.