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Gender Bias in Healthcare? How More Reviews Can Help Level the Playing Field


When searching for a new healthcare provider, does gender play a role? Do you consider whether you’re looking for a male or female orthopedist, dentist, or surgeon? Or, are you simply looking for an expert in the field?

Gender bias in the workplace (and in many other areas) has historically been an inevitable factor in our lives. Some studies assert that gender bias “continues to be an ongoing issue” in the medical field, and that these biases directly impact patient perception of physicians. 

While you may be in total support of gender equality across all professions, you may not be aware of unequal perceptions of male and female healthcare providers as you read Google reviews about a potential new doctor or hospital. 

We’ve thought about how perception could impact and influence provider reviews, because, after all, helping healthcare providers manage their reputation is one of our favorite topics. Lately, we’ve come across some articles like this one, claiming that women in healthcare are more likely to receive negative reviews than men in the healthcare field. So, we conducted our own research on the subject to reveal an unbiased trend—if there is one. What we discovered based on the data of more than 6,000 physicians we surveyed, is that the opposite is true. 

Here’s what we learned:

Out of five stars, the average rating for female physicians is 4.83, compared to the average rating of male providers of 4.79.

Of all female providers, 92.8% have an average rating of 4.5 or higher, compared to 91.7% of all male providers.

Healthcare consumers are 3 times more likely to leave a negative review for any provider if they’ve had a bad experience.

Of the thousands of physicians we surveyed, female providers make up 21.7% of the total providers, but only 13.1% of all reviews.

% of reviews women get Does this mean you’re more likely to leave a review for a male provider over a female provider, or could it be that there are more male physicians in the field? According to recent research of more than 55,500 doctors in the United States, 54.2% of them are women, while just 45.8% are men. 

So, there are actually more female doctors than male doctors, but women are less likely to receive reviews—unless of course, you have a negative experience with either. While, according to our 

data, women are less likely to get reviews than male physicians, the reviews women do receive are generally more positive than the reviews patients leave for men.

Review ratings for male vs. female

What does this mean for your healthcare organization? 

Simply put, you need to ask for more reviews so you can get more patients to rate their experiences with all providers. When you ask more patients to review your practice and their interactions with both male and female doctors, more of your happy patients will leave feedback, and therefore, help boost your overall ratings. 

Don’t “leave it to chance” or rely on an exceptional experience at your healthcare practice to motivate patients to leave positive comments and 4- or 5-star reviews (although, a great patient experience is essential to your long-term success!). Instead, be proactive and ask patients to rate their experience following an appointment. 

The most efficient way to increase your total number of reviews is through an automated healthcare reputation management platform that sends a text or email with a link to a review site like Google or Healthgrades. When you ask every patient for immediate feedback, you’re more likely to get enough positive reviews to outweigh any negative ones you might have lurking from dissatisfied individuals. 

Let the reviews speak for you.

With more reviews, we see a more positive perspective on the claim from this article that “patients’ biases can then significantly shape not only their personal experiences, but those of thousands of others browsing online for a consultation.” 

Gender bias may be inevitable, but with more positive sentiments expressed through online reviews and provider ratings, your future patients will feel confident knowing they’re making a good choice when they call you. After all, “thousands of patients” offering honest feedback are a powerful influence on your reputation.

Need help getting started? Get in touch with SocialClimb today to ask us your questions.


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