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Much has been made about the "woman's card" lately in the news. Does a woman's card exist in medicine?
The recent Medscape physician survey that polled almost 20,000 U.S. physicians revealed that women doctors, particularly in specialty practices, report earning 24 percent less on average than their male peers. This struck a chord with me.
Unlike Medscape, we don't survey physicians - we survey patients. Thousands of patients are surveyed each year to determine the strength of the relationship they have with their physician. Our results reveal that, when it comes to patient satisfaction, most women physicians are poised to actually earn more, not less.
Unlike consumer-driven markets, the value patients place on the care they receive from their physician doesn't change the price of service. When it comes to medical care, pricing is negotiated with third party payers and the only way to increase revenue is to see more and more patients. This is unfortunate for those physicians who prefer to practice high-touch, personalized medicine with more time for care coordination and emotional support. Thankfully, though, there is a way for physicians who provide this kind of enhanced service, with more time and personalized care, to be appropriately compensated. The doctor can tap into the value of their patient relationships.
The best candidates for concierge medicine are those physicians who have strong relationships with their patients and who already provide top-notch service. Their patients value the care they receive and are willing to pay for the service and peace of mind that comes from knowing their trusted physician will be there for them.
Over the course of a decade in concierge care, we've found that female physicians tend to be quite successful as concierge physicians. In fact, female physicians often do better in their concierge programs because of strong relationships with patients, and oftentimes a higher amount of female patients who may take a greater interest in actively managing their health. In addition, though historically we've worked with more male doctors than female doctors, we have converted more female physicians to full-model programs. This means that the practice demographics and patient surveys of women doctors show that, more often, they can support such a model, that the model works well for their lifestyle goals, and that concierge medicine allows them to practice the style of medicine they prefer.
We encourage women doctors with strong patient relationships to play their so-called "women's card" and look into new ways they can make the most of the style of medicine they prefer to practice and the patient loyalty they've earned.