Patients more likely to drop 'Dr.' when messaging female physicians, study finds

Patients are more likely to refer to female physicians by their first name in electronic messaging compared to male physicians, a study published Oct. 5 in JAMA Network Open found.

Researchers from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic analyzed 29,498 messages sent through the system's EHR from 14,958 patients between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2021.

Female physicians were more than twice as likely as their male counterparts to be called by their first name, even after researchers adjusted for various factors such as patient gender, physician age and specialty. 

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to objectively identify patterns of addressing physicians through electronic messaging and may reveal potential bias," researchers wrote, adding that the study may not be generalizable as it was only conducted at one health system. 

View the full study here.

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