Male physicians refer patients to male surgeons at disproportionate rate, study finds 

Female physicians were 1.6 percent more likely to refer patients to a female surgeon while male physicians were 32 percent more likely to refer patients to a male surgeon, a Canadian study published Nov. 10 in JAMA Surgery found. 

Researchers used administrative databases to identify more than 40 million outpatient referrals to surgeons from Jan. 1, 1997, to Dec. 31, 2016, with follow-up to Dec. 31, 2018. 

Male surgeons accounted for 77.5 percent of all surgeons but received 87.1 percent of referrals from male physicians and 79.3 percent of referrals from female physicians.

"Our work points toward a mechanism that directly contributes to the sex-based pay gap in medicine," Fahima Dossa, MD, co-lead author of the study, told MedicalXpress. "Focused efforts at reducing the effects of implicit and explicit biases on referrals to physicians are now needed."

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