Background: Provider gender, provider specialty, and clinic setting affect quality of primary care delivery for women, but previous research has not examined these factors in combination. The purpose of this study is to determine whether separate or combined effects of provider gender, availability of gynecologic services from the provider, and women's clinic setting improve patient ratings of primary care.
Methods: Women veterans receiving care in women's clinics or traditional primary care at 10 Veteran's Affair (VA) medical centers completed a mailed questionnaire (N = 1321, 61%) rating four validated domains of primary care (preference for provider, communication, coordination, and accumulated knowledge). For each domain, summary scores were calculated and dichotomized into perfect score (maximum score) versus other. Multiple logistic regressions were used to estimate the probability of a perfect score in each domain while controlling for patient characteristics and site.
Results: Female provider was significantly associated with perfect ratings for communication and coordination. Providing gynecologic care was significantly associated with perfect ratings for male and female providers. Patients who used a women's clinic and had a female provider who gave gynecologic care had perfect or nearly perfect ratings for preference for provider, communication, and accumulated knowledge.
Conclusion: Gynecologic services are linked to patient ratings of primary care separate from and in synergy with the effect of female provider. Male and female providers should consider offering routine gynecologic services or working in coordination with a setting that provides gynecologic services. Health care evaluations should assess scope of services for provider and practice.