Benchmarking surgeons' gender and year of medical school graduation associated with monthly operative workdays for multispecialty groups


Background Female surgeons reportedly receive less surgical block time and fewer procedural referrals than male surgeons. In this study, we compared operative days between female and male surgeons throughout Florida. Our objective was to facilitate benchmarking by multispecialty groups, both the endpoint to use for statistically reliable results and expected differences. Methodology The historical cohort study included all 4,060,070 ambulatory procedural encounters and inpatient elective surgical states performed between January 2017 and December 2019 by 8,472 surgeons at 609 facilities. Surgeons' gender, year of medical school graduation, and surgical specialty were obtained from their National Provider Identifiers. Results Female surgeons operated an average of 1.0 fewer days per month than matched male surgeons (99% confidence interval 0.8 to 1.2 fewer days, P < 0.0001). The mean differences were 0.8 to 1.4 fewer days per month among each of the five quintiles of years of graduation from medical school (all P ≤ 0.0050). Results were comparable when repeated using the number of monthly cases the surgeons performed. Conclusions An average difference of ≤1.4 days per month is a conservative estimate for the current status quo of the workload difference in Florida. Suppose that a group's female surgeons average more than two fewer operative days per month than the group's male surgeons of the same specialty. Such a large average difference would call for investigation of what might reflect systematic bias. While such a difference may reflect good flexibility of the organization, it may show a lack of responsiveness (e.g., fewer referrals of procedural patients to female surgeons or bias when apportioning allocated operating room time).

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