Are male patients comfortable with women doctors?

| August 30, 2016 Data Insight

Are men less enthusiastic than women about seeing physicians of the opposite gender? Maybe, according to an analysis of more than two million primary care visits.

The study, which tracked patient visits on the athenahealth network between January and June 2014, looked at how many patients during that time frame were returning to a new practice within 18 months of their first visits.

Roughly half of the patients returned within that time if they shared their physicians’ gender. Women returned to male doctors at nearly the same rate. But only 40 percent of male patients returned to their female doctors.

That pattern was particularly true for patients with commercial insurance. While 52 percent of commercially insured male patients returned to their male physicians, only 40 percent returned to female physicians. For commercially insured women, return rates were 51 percent for female physicians and 48 percent for male physicians.

Medicaid was the only insurance type that showed no difference in return rates for men based on the gender of the physician.

Women have long been accustomed to male doctors: Even now, only about a third of practicing physicians are female. Male patients, meanwhile, have expressed reservations about visiting women doctors for some time.

But with changing physician demographics, men may start having trouble finding doctors of the same gender. Almost half of new medical school graduates are women, and they will represent a growing proportion of physicians who are accepting new patients.

As women achieve parity in medicine, any reluctant male patients will probably adjust. Indeed, in a recent exchange on Quora, male patients expressed their preference for female physicians on a number of bases, including superior listening skills and — for certain sensitive procedures — a lighter physical touch.

Dig deeper:

Comments

Add a comment

Add a comment

Required fields are marked *

Your email address will not be published.

Why do you think there is only a difference in patients with commercial insurance and not in Medicaid?
Name: 
Brendan
Email: 
test@test.com
I'm a male patient who used to prefer women doctors. Then the one I'd been seeing for several years sprang a female "chaperone" on me with no warning, explanation, or opportunity to refuse.
Name: 
anonymous
Email: 
nobodyhome2004@yahoo.com
You can always refuse; absolutely no one gets to participate in your health care without your informed consent. I've had the same thing happen to me me and my comment to the doc was either she leaves or I do!
Name: 
Ed
Email: 
edkay4ver@yahoo.com
Thank you. I have subsequently learned that I have the right of refusal, but that right needs to be clearly explained BEFORE a spectator is ever brought in. I was already frightened about the possible diagnosis, and it simply didn't occur to me at the time that I could refuse a witness or that my preferences should have been consulted.
Name: 
anonymous
Email: 
guthfamily1@hotmail.com
Part of the reluctance of men to go to female physicians comes from the propensity of many practices to have 100% female nursing, tech, and office staffs. Men that might be willing to have an intimate exam or procedure with a female physician are not necessarily comfortable with her bringing in a female nurse or other female staff member (as an assistant or chaperone for example). That can take what was a tolerable situation and make it unacceptable to them. Most men are too embarrassed to speak up and instead find it easier to just to not go back to that doctor. Another reason is that men that have never had an intimate exam or procedure by a female physician before might not realize beforehand that they are not comfortable with it, and again, it is easier to just not go back than to speak up.
Name: 
RLU
Email: 
bunderhill53@gmail.com
Yes! You nailed it! I am a 40 year old male. While I am willing to (not happy to, but willing to) have a female physician perform an intimate exam on me, I am absolutely not comfortable with any other female staff in the room for any reason while I am fully exposed. The presence of another fully clothed woman in the room to "observe" turns what would be a tolerable situation into an intolerable situation for me. Thank you for posting that. I now feel like I'm not alone in my thinking.
Name: 
Rich
Email: 
niffoc@yahoo.com
Rich, you are far from alone. If you haven't already found them, check out the Bioethics Discussion Blog: Patient Modesty , and Patient Modesty and Privacy Concerns . You'll find many similar stories, along with helpful advice, encouragement, and support.
Name: 
Anonymous
Email: 
nobodyhome2004@yahoo.com
Good Afternoon: Rich, there are a whole lot of men in this great country of ours that suffer in silence and those that suffer but say NO to the system. Male doctors understand our dilemma but, they do not seem to communicate the issue to their female MD colleagues that bringing in female chaperones without prior patient approval, is totally unacceptable. Maybe they see it as a way to thin out the competition for patients. In the field of medicine, urology is the worst area for male patients. Many procedures that were once done only in the OR theater in a hospital, or now done on a daily basis in an OR suite next to the doctors office. Before you even get to the humiliation of being placed into a pair of stirrups by a female nurse, then prepped by her with her female chaperone in the room watching, you have to sit at a desk in the office and go over your complete medical history (including sexual if needed), with a female. Urologists seem to have forgotten, they are dealing with a human being first and foremost. A person with emotions and psychological needs. I believe that urologists think if they put a good looking young female in the room with a male patient, her looks (of what he can see), will distract him enough while the doctor performs the deed at hand. They don't seem to understand or they simply don't care that just having her and a female chaperone in the room is destroying him both psychologically and emotionally. Not many if any guys really want to be strapped into a set of stirrups to begin with much less having it done by a strange woman with another woman looking on the whole time. Very demeaning to the guy. Our country is in the process of attempting to craft a new healthcare bill for the nation. NOW is the time for anyone (male or female), who wants to see same gender caregivers assigned without question by the providers, for any intimate care, test, or procedure to get on the phone and/or write their representatives in Washington & tell them, the current ways DO NOT WORK for EVERYONE. They are unacceptable and must be changed. Same gender caregivers MUST be available at all hospitals, clinics, and doctors offices for ANY intimate care. NO MORE AMBUSHING male patients. Only the patient can force the system to change. It's up to the patient now to speak up or continue to face the humiliation and embarrassment forced upon us by a broken system. Regards, John
Name: 
John
Email: 
not.too.trusting@gmail.com
Hello: Many men grow up with male doctors and most find it much easier to speak with another male where male related issues are concerned. Just like women find with female medical personnel. Another reason men have reservations about women in the medical field is the way many are treated when it comes to intimate male related tests and procedures. Years ago, the healthcare industry put into place protections to protect a woman’s dignity and modesty while also respecting their privacy. Case in point, how many male x-ray technicians do you see or hear of giving a woman her mammogram? I can count on one hand how many if any at all. During the same time period including up through today, the healthcare industry has seen to completely neglect to give those very same protections to their male patients. Case in point, man needs a scrotal ultrasound. Nine times out of ten, that test will be administered by a young female technician. And that same female technician will further embarrass the male patient by bringing alone a young female "chaperone" to observe. All without the male patient's approval. Ten times out of ten the same male patient won’t even be given a warning up front that a female technician will be administering the test whereby giving him a chance to cancel and go elsewhere. The male patient in the US healthcare system is given no respect at all. It’s that sour taste that the healthcare industry is leaving in many men’s mouths that is causing them to back away from using any female doctor and furthermore to just stay away from the healthcare system in general. Men are tired of the healthcare industry’s dog and pony show. They’d rather stay completely away than just hand over their privacy and dignity to the medical community just to be completely humiliated by the so-called healthcare professionals in return. NO protection for a male patient’s dignity and modesty along with NO respect for his privacy. It’s the biggest dirty little secret the healthcare industry still holds on to today. It's so taboo, they won't talk about it to the public. The culture today that exists in the medical community is toxic towards their male patients. For the most part their view of a male patient is a man who has absolutely no modesty whatsoever. Is a loud mouth complainer and show off who when he comes to a facility for service, should just shut up, do as he’s told, and take whatever the medical community chooses to do to him while he’s at their facility. It’s the attitude and treatment of men by healthcare personnel (especially female), that has cause many men to just say no more. So ladies, next time your grandfather, dad, brother, boyfriend, husband, or son doesn’t go get the medical help they need, think about it. Could it be because of the way they or someone they know was treated by the healthcare industry? Men are dying earlier than they should ladies and this is part of the reason why. The industry saw fit to put protections in place for their female patients. They now have a moral and ethical obligation to do the same for their male patients in a timely manner. Not five to ten years from now. Men have the SAME rights as women do when it comes to intimate care, tests, and procedure protections. A male patient’s right to have his privacy respected and his dignity/modesty protected is just as important as any female patient. That people is why there’s a trend for men to back away from using a female doctor. Many men just aren’t willing to trust female healthcare personnel any longer. Many female medical personnel have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt they aren’t to be trusted and it’s that mistrust in some that has cast doubt on all female healthcare personnel. The healthcare industry has created this problem all by themselves. Are they willing now to put protections in place to better protect their male patients whereby rebuilding trust by male patients in the system? Or are they just gonna say the almighty dollar and their bottom line is more important than saving the lives of men who are needlessly dying sooner than they should. It's called trading lives for dollars. I don't think they'll win any popularity contests. Do No Harm and CPR. Four words healthcare personnel know intimately. Burn them into your memory. ChoicePrivacyRespect three letters that can make a difference in the medical community. Give ALL not just a few of your patients Choice without always questioning why. Protect their Privacy like you would protect your own. Then in return, you will have earned your patients Respect and have their undying gratitude for a lifetime. What more can any healthcare worker ask for? Do No Harm and CPR go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other and successfully take care of the public you serve. Regards,
Name: 
John
Email: 
raffie326@gmail.com
I applaud athena for even pondering this question. A few points. The number of practicing female physicians currently is higher than stated, closer to 37-38% and growing. But the flaw in the question about whether males comfortable with female physicians is that there are hardly any clinics in the US that a male receives the equivalent EXPERIENCE as the female patient. That is because nearly 100% of the assisting clinical staff are FEMALE. So if the physician needs a chaperone, or an assistant during an intimate procedure, or a tech to prep the patient for an intimate procedure, it is almost always a female (i.e, an all female team). Health care facilities have failed to higher diverse (i.e., male) staff so that patient preferences can be accommodated. I've had equal numbers of male and female primary care physicians in my life. I have no problem with female physicians but I do not feel comfortable having a room full of females when having an intimate exam or procedure. Women do NOT experience this. So ask this question again AFTER your clinics have hired plenty of male staff that can assist women physicians doing intimate exams on males and you will probably find a different answer. Of course that means clinics will need to hire comparable numbers of male and female staffs. Conversely, have your female patients ALWAYS have male assistants present for their intimate exams by a male physician and see if the percentage of women that return doesn't go down. I would predict it would. Again, thanks for the consideration.
Name: 
AB
Email: 
alden_bice@comcast.net
AR, I am a female but, I have been fighting for my husbands rights. You are so right. Men have no recourse. My husband has gone through a lot with female health care workers that he should not have. He had hernia surgery several years ago. All female staff except for his surgeon. He was delayed going in so later in afternoon to come out. After an hour in recovery nurse told him he had better pee soon or she would shove a catheter up his penis. He asked me to help him get to bathroom and if he couldn't go lie for him. I would have but mission accomplished. Three years ago he went in to as his doctor told him to be reamed out. No explanation, no nothiing. He finally talked to us a little before the procedure said we still could have sex but may have retrograde ejaculations, was going to put a scope in and open him up. Scrub tech came in and we were still nervous, she tapped his shoulder and said "don't worry honey I'm going to get to know you real well." Then she winked at me. We found out what they did and how on the Internet this summer while checking out knee replacement surgery. It is awful. He said never again. Procedure and going home with a catheter he was not told he would have was bad, but, seeing all the prep by women made him sick. Not one man on several we saw did the prep. Isn't this intimate care. Why women. Last year he was in hospital for obserrvation for one night Able to walk around on his own. Young female cna around our grandchildren age (18 to 20) said she had to give him a shower if he wanted one. He said my wife will help. She protested.Took him in shower and soon came back out very upset and told me if he needed help I was to help him. He hasn'ttold me what he said or did but she was not happy. His scrotal ultrasound, female tech and guess what, again wife not allowed but a female chaperone for her not him. He was to have colonoscopy in December but since they didn't have male nurses to assist he had me cancel. Got diverticulitis so our doctor made him reschedule. Still no male nurses. I had to have a procedure in same place in November and this place wouldn't let him go back with me to get ready at first. They said they had to ask me personal questions. Well I went back and told them I would answer no questions until they got him. Finally they got him. So I was on phone to make sure I was going back with him. They finally said they would ask him his abuse questions and then get me.Told me federal law. They usually make them do all the undress etc and then get spouse. We all deserve to have a say. I am fighting for men and women. Let's HIRE more male nurses and if they have to have the very little trained scrub tech, hire male techs for any procedure where a man is exposed at all. And, all you wives out there join me in fighting for our husbands health and right to modesty and dignity. Like my husband they will put off and cancel until they have to go for some reason or u til it is to late. Men join in and fight for your wives or significant others rights too. I could go on and tell what men have done to me but, I fight back and got one fired for his acts and have now made it my mission to fight for all of us to be treated with respect and to have our modesty and dignity in tact. I for one will not have surgery again unless I can wear a disposable spa bra and briefs on or no surgery. I will also have local anesthesia and stay awake until all prep done with no catheter. A lot of surgeries need no catheter and for new less invassive surgeries where they put you up in the stirrups we are all in full view of all I room. One tech at a site on You tube said they take everything off us for even minor hand surgery. That is how he does it. The heck with that. Fight for our bodies. This is so wrong. To help we can all call our local hospitals and put bug in their ears to get dignight briefs (uni sex) and bras invented for surgery by 2 operating room nurses in the UK. They are getting some hospitals here in US buying them but we need to get word out. What hospitals and clinics do to men and women is really abusive. If it feels wrong and so much of it does it is wrong.
Name: 
SJ
Email: 
Jonesseed@ecicwireless.com
I tend to agree, men are not shown respect for their beliefs or modesty. The patient "ambush" is quite typical even when an appointment is made with a male physician, it is not unusual for a female chaperone, female scribe or both to suddenly walk into the exam room with the hapless male patient sitting their in a state of undress. Informed consent is just that "informed" consent. Give the male patient a chance to say no or request a male instead of a female. I would suggest that the return rate would be much higher in the long run.
Name: 
Dwin Towell
Email: 
dwin@airmail.net
Hello: As others have eluded to here, men are not going back to their female MD’s usually because of a bad experience. The experience usually being she brings in a female chaperone on an intimate related test or procedure without clearing it first with her male patient. This should be a wakeup call to ALL female practitioners in private practice, clinics, and hospitals across this country. Your male patients are tired of being embarrassed, humiliated, and totally disrespected. The show’s OVER. Wake up and smell the coffee. It’s time for female practitioners EVERYWHERE to start advocating for their male patients and treat them with the same level of consideration and respect they give their female patients by having male caregivers on staff on every shift so as to accommodate a man’s request for same gender caregivers. No more trading men’s lives for dollars. Show male patients EVERYWHERE that you really do care about their health and hire the necessary staff in your practice. Next, talk to your colleagues and together start making a push in all the clinics and hospitals to start hiring male nurses and technicians to accommodate male patient needs. Ladies, you went into medicine to make a difference. HERE’S YOUR CHANCE. Strike while the iron is hot and make your mark on the industry. Men will continue to die at an early age without your help. Give men everywhere some CPR. Choice Privacy Respect Their family, and girlfriends will thank you for your help in saving their loved ones from an early departure from this life. The time is NOW. Regards, John
Name: 
John
Email: 
not.too.trusting@gmail.com
To allthe men who have responded I as a woman agree with your concerns. I have been fighting for basically my husbands rights to have male nurses. cnas, scrub techs and xray personel as he has had many embarrassing experiences. Many of which could have been remedied had they let me wife not some young female be his chaperone. Does it take a rocket scientist to realize that men feel as we women do as to our private area needs. Why should men have a ultrasound of his scrotal with a female tech and a young female chaperone. I was there and they said no I couldn't go back. (Due to many spouse complaints and male complaints they recently changed that at our clinic) Scrub tech for very personal TURP again female who made very bad comment, then wink at me thinking it was funny,nurse who told him after (again all female team for inguinal hernia) if you don't pee before 4:30 I am going to shove catheter up your penis (wehad made pact tolie as she was not going to o that to hm) because you are last one here and I am leaving at 5. CNA young enough to be our grandaughter insisting she give him a shower (when he was suppose to go home but wanted him to see a doctor the nest morning) and no was the answer to my helping him. Shut door in my face. She came storming out real quick and said if he needed help I was to help. These types of behavior are just uncalled for. Men deserve to be treated with the same respect as women. Not to say we don't have our fair share of problems with male CT tech who tell you to take bra of while " I stand behind the glass." He got fired, Only male nurse ever in our colonoscopy area throwing gown up and opff while door still open and thouroughly upsetting and humiliating me, Stess test gown totally open and male in room. Told to walk with gown open. Won't go back. So we women have some problems but I had the recourse on all of them to fight back. As far as doctors, I respect and admire the doctor for having the initiative and will to endure 12 years plus to give us medical care only to be replaced with nurse practioners, and PAs while they do the paperwork that they should have someone doing for them. Let them save our lives be they male or female but get us same gender supporting staff. Don't let CNAs do the nurses desired work while the nurse fills out more paper work. Get rid of the ever growing scribe. I want to see my doctor not a damn secretary and that is what I told the local clinic when my husband & I encountered the embarrassing intrusion of said scribes. We neither one talked about the problems we were sent for to the respective specialist. Why with HIPPA do we as spouses or significant others have to sign forms for us to make appointments, talk about spouses health problem or call to get information if other asks them to, but government allows clinics, hospitals and surgical centers to have opoosite gender staff for intimalte procedures and allow scribes who are really secretaries.in with the patient. We need to take control and demand better for ourselves and our families. So in conclusion it is not the Doctor I hate is is the opposite gender extended staff that I hate. When we are made to have catheters or have people of the opposite sex scrub our bodies while we are totally nude and knocked outin surgery this in my opinion is medical rape. Oh and we were told by our local hospital recently that the federal government made a law that the hospitals must take the patient back (for men this is of course opposite sex cna or nurse) and ask personal questions. For me when they took me back I refused to answer any questions until they got my husband. In Gods eyes we are one. How can our government pass laws to that effect. If we say we want a spouse or family member especially if person is of opposite sex we should have right to have them as a chaperone. We pay our insurance and medical bills. We should have a rigt to have team of our choice. Hire the male nurses that have worked to get a 4 year degree but don't seem to get hired because it would be discrimination of the female nurse. Many male RNs can not gfet a job because of this discrimination.
Name: 
SJ
Email: 
jonesseed@ecicwireless.com

Add new comment

Are male patients comfortable with women doctors?