Gender differences in how physicians access and process information

Gynecol Oncol Rep. 2019 Jan 2:27:50-53. doi: 10.1016/j.gore.2018.12.008. eCollection 2019 Feb.


There is an absence of information on how physicians make surgical decisions, and on the effect of gender on the processing of information. A novel web based decision-matrix software was designed to trace experimentally the process of decision making in medical situations. The scenarios included a crisis and non-crisis simulation for endometrial cancer surgery. Gynecologic oncologists, fellows, and residents (42 male and 42 female) in Canada participated in this experiment. Overall, male physicians used more heuristics, whereas female physicians were more comprehensive in accessing clinical information (p < 0.03), utilized alternative-based acquisition processes in the non-crisis scenario (p = 0.01), were less likely to consider procedure-related costs (p = 0.04), and overall allocated more time to evaluate the information (p < 0.01). Further experiments leading to a better understanding of the cognitive processes involved in medical decision making could influence education and training and impact on patient outcome.

Keywords: Cognitive analysis; Decision-making; Gender; Simulation.

Publication types

  • Review