Objective: Review of studies published in the last 10 years about women seeking gynecological- or obstetrical care and physician's gender in relation to patient preferences, differences in communication style and patient satisfaction.
Methods: Studies were identified by searching the online databases PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase and the Cochrane Library. The search strategies 'gender'; 'obstetrics' and 'gynecology' were combined with 'communication'; 'physician-patient relations'; 'patient preference' and 'patient satisfaction'.
Results: After screening title and abstract, evaluating full text and quality assessment, 9 articles were included in this review. Most patients preferred a female rather than a male gynecologist-obstetrician. This was partly explained by a more patient-centered communication style used by female gynecologists-obstetricians. Also experience and clinical competence were important factors in choosing a gynecologist-obstetrician. It was not clear whether patient's age or ethnicity influenced patients gender preference. Patient satisfaction increased when gynecologists-obstetricians used a patient-centered communication style.
Conclusion: Preference for a female gynecologist-obstetrician might be explained by a more patient-centered communication style used by female gynecologists-obstetricians. Using a patient-centered communication style increases patient satisfaction.
Practice implications: To increase patient satisfaction, gynecologists-obstetricians should learn to integrate patient-centered communication style into the consultation.
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