Women Doctors Make Less Than Male Doctors, Even Though They're Probably Better at Their Jobs

Women Doctors Make Less Than Male Doctors, Even Though They're Probably Better at Their Jobs

It’s certainly not “news” that women—including, of course, women doctors and scientist-doctors—are paid less than their male counterparts. But a new study refutes the commonly held belief that this is simply because “they work less.” Did…anyone really think that? Really? In any case, it’s not true. Obviously.

It turns out that women doctors not only spend more time with patients, they also order more tests and more thoroughly discuss preventative care than male doctors, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. Even so, they were still found to make 11 percent less.

“That raises the question of whether we are paying for what we really care about in health care,” Dr. Ishani Ganguli, an internal medicine specialist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the head of the study team, told CNN.

Based on the data compiled, Ganguli and her colleagues found that women were paid 87 cents to the dollar for every hour worked compared to their male colleagues. At the same time, they also spend an average of two minutes—or 16 percent—more time with each patient, a style of care that’s roundly regarded as better. According to Fast Company,

Notably, the study found that though women were taking on a lower number of patient visits, they were not less productive than their male colleagues. Women reported more diagnoses and placed more orders for follow-up examinations and treatments but were less likely to recommend expensive procedures that bring in more revenue.

Incidentally, female physicians show the highest rates of burnout, said Hannah Neprash, a health economist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health who also worked on the study. “If longer visits contribute to feelings of time pressure and a chaotic work environment—for lower pay—it’s understandable that job satisfaction might be lower.” We probably didn’t need a study to tell us this, but good to know!

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