Objective: This paper is based on a 2017 Baltimore International Conference on Communication in
Healthcare (ICCH) plenary presentation by the
first author and addresses how female and male
physicians' communication is perceived and evaluated differently. Female physicians use patientcentered
communication which is the interaction style clearly preferred by patients. Logically, patients
should be much more satisfied with female than male physicians. However, research shows that this is
not the case.
Methods: This article provides an overview on how female and male physician communication is
evaluated and perceived differently by patients and discusses whether and how gender stereotypes can
explain these differences in perception and evaluation.
Results: Male physicians obtain good patient outcomes when verbally expressing patient-centeredness
while female physicians have patients who report better outcomes when they adapt their nonverbal
communication to the different needs of their patients.
Conclusion: The analysis reveals that existing empirical
findings cannot simply be explained by the
adherence or not to gender stereotypes. Female physicians do not always get credit for showing gender
role congruent behavior. All in all, female and male physicians do not obtain credit for the same
Practice Implications: Physician communication training might put different accents for female and male