Does sex of physician matters in patient-centered approach?
The article by Little et al. is a commendable contribution to advance
research on physician-patient consultations and in specific patient-
centered approach (1). In the spirit of dialogue and clarification, I am
concerned about the lack of information about the sex of physicians who
provided consultations in three local practices. Several studies suggest
that female general practitioners are more patient centered than male
general practitioners (2) (3) (4). Also, few studies suggest heightened
patient-centeredness in female-female dyad. Furthermore, some researchers
support these findings by the theory of early patterns of sex
socialization (5). This perspective has gained currency due to increasing
number of women entering family medicine. It would be interesting for
readers to know the influence of physicians' gender, if any, on the
results presented in this paper.
(1) Little P, Everitt H, Williamson I, Warner G, Moore M, Gould C et
al. Observational study of effect of patient centredness and positive
approach on outcomes of general practice consultations. BMJ 2001; 323: 908
(2) Bertakis KD, Helms J, Callahan EJ, Azari R, Robbins JA. The influence
of gender on physician practice style. Med Care 1995; 33: 407-16.
(3) Roter DL, Hall JA. Why physician gender matters in shaping the
physician-patient relationship. Womens Health 1998; 7: 1093-97.
(4) Law SA, Britten N. Factors that influence the patient centredness of
a consultation. Br J Gen Pract 1995; 45: 520-24.
(5) Weisman CS, Teitelbaum MA. Physician gender and the physician-patient
relationship: recent evidence and relevant questions. Soc Sci Med 1985;
Note: No Competing interests
Competing interests: No competing interests