Background: There are indications that many women prefer female health care providers. Objective: To determine whether (1) patients and health care professionals have sex preferences for gastroenterologists (for office visit and colonoscopy) and (2) the reasons behind these preferences. Design: Prospective survey. Setting: Patients from primary care clinics at a Veterans Affairs and a community hospital and health care professionals. Patients: A total of 1364 individuals completed the survey: 840 patients (566 men and 274 women) and 524 health care professionals (211 men and 313 women). Main Outcome Measurements: Sex preferences for colonoscopists and gastroenterologists at a clinic. Results: Women had a stronger sex preference (compared with no preference) for an office visit with a gastroenterologist (44.3%) and for a colonoscopist (53%) than men (23% and 27.8% respectively; P < .001). For health care professionals, there was a significant difference in sex preferences for women and men for a gastroenterologist office visit (30.4% vs 17.6%; P < .001) and for a colonoscopist (43.1% vs 26.1%; P < .001). Of all respondents with a sex preference, the most common reason was embarrassment for both office visit and colonoscopy. For all respondents with a sex preference for colonoscopy, a higher level of education was an independent predictor of patients feeling embarrassed (P = .003). Limitations: Single city, patient population from only 2 institutions. Conclusions: Female patients and female health care professionals have sex preferences in choosing a gastroenterologist for an office visit and colonoscopy, and the reasons for this are significantly influenced by their level of education.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging