A study by Johns Hopkins University seems to show you’ll get more up-close-and-personal time with your doctor if she’s a woman. Iowa doctor Robin Hartley says she can certainly understand it if the patient’s a woman, too. She may feel more comfortable sharing fears or concerns about her aging body and may feel the doctor’s felt the same things herself. Hartley, who practices at an Urbandale clinic with two other women and a male M-D, says all doctors have a fairly intimate relationship with their patients. Whether you choose to “partner with” a male or female physician, she says they know a lot about you, your home and family, job and lifestyle so they can treat you. Hartley says she and her colleagues get many referrals by word-of-mouth, as women tell friends about seeing a woman doctor. She says they like it that the female docs listen to them, share their concerns, and talk almost like friends over coffee. While the national study found women take two more minutes per office visit with a patient than male doctors did, Harley says there are good doctors of both genders who give patients plenty of attention. If you find your doctor doesn’t listen to you or is accustomed to dealing with clients who are older or different than you in some way, Harley says you should find another doctor. Dr. Hartley says good communication is vital to being able to ask a doctor questions, learn about your concerns and share information that helps them treat you. The study found women docs engage in more patient-oriented, emotion-focused conversation than did male M-D’s during office visits with a patient.
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