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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


DELGADO, Ana et al. Referrals and Sex of Physicians and Patients: a Gender Analysis, Andalussia, Spain. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2014, vol.88, n.3, pp.359-368. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: It has been identified differences of medical care practice in primary care related to physician's sex. Simultaneously, there are gender inequalities in the assignment of health resources. Both aspects give rise to an increasing growing interest in the management and provision of health services. Objectives: To examine the differences in the referral practice made by female and male primary care physicians working in health centers in Andalusia, to consider whether there are disparities in referrals received by men and women, and to examine the interaction between patient's sex and physician's sex. Methods: Observational, cross-sectional, and multicenter study. Population: 4 health districts in Andalucía and their physicians. Sample: 382 physicians. Measurements: referral rate per visit (RV), referral rate per patient quota (RQ), patient's sex, physician: sex, age, postgraduate family medicine specialty, size of the patient quota by sex, mean number of patients/day by sex, mean age of the patient quota by sex, and proportion of men in the quota. Health center: urban / rural, size of the team, enrolled population, and postgraduate family medicine specialty's accreditation. Sources: databases of health districts. Period of study: 2010. Analysis: Bivariate and multivariate multilevel analysis of the referral rate per visit with mixed Poisson model. Results: In 2010 382 physicians made 129,161 referrals to specialized care. The RQ was 23.47 and the RV was 4.92. The RQ in women and men was 27.23 and 19.78 for women physicians, being 27.37 and 19.51 for male physicians. The RV in women and men was 4.92 and 5.48 for women physicians, being 4.54 and 4.93 for male physicians. Conclusion: There are no differences in referral according to physician's sex. However, there are signs that might indicate the existence of gender inequality, and women patient received less referrals. There are no physician-patient's sex interaction.

Keywords : Referral and Consultation; Professional practice; Primary health care; Gender and Health.

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