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Women doctors are twice as likely to be called by their first names than male doctors

In this May 27, 2020 file photo, medical personnel adjust their personal protective equipment while working in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan in New York.
John Minchillo
/
AP
In this May 27, 2020 file photo, medical personnel adjust their personal protective equipment while working in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan in New York.

Women doctors were twice as likely than their male counterparts to be called by their first names, a new study shows.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic analyzed about 90,000 messages between 1,092 doctors and nearly 15,000 of their patients.

Altogether, about a third of people call use either a first or last names when communicating with their doctors, according to the research.

Additionally, osteopathic doctors were twice as likely to be called by their first names than doctors with M.D. degrees. Additionally, primary care physicians were 50% more likely to be referred to by their first names than specialty doctors.

Women patients were 40% less likely to use their doctors' first names.

Researchers analyzed patient and doctor demographics, such as age and gender, but did not account for "potential cultural, racial, or ethnic nuances in greeting structure," they said.

They also did not measure whether a physician prefers to be called by their first name or not. Messages were evaluated by a natural language processing algorithm.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: November 15, 2022 at 9:00 PM PST
A previous version of this story said about a third of patients call their doctors by their first names. That statistic refers to the percentage of people who call doctors by any part of their name, including last names.
Ayana Archie