Patients are more likely to express a preference for same-sex endoscopy team members rather than the endoscopists themselves, and men have more same-sex endoscopist preferences than women, according to a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Researchers conducted the prospective, multicenter study of 1 urban health care system and 1 rural health care system with use of an anonymous, voluntary survey of all adult outpatients who presented to an endoscopy center before their procedures.
The centers accepted a total of 2138 surveys for a response rate of 34%; 1207 (57%) of responders were female patients, 905 (42%) were male patients, and 26 (1%) patients did not report their sex. Participants’ mean age was 57.1 years (SD, 13.4 years), and 89% were White. A higher proportion of patients from an urban healthcare system were non-White compared with those from a rural area (18% vs 5%, respectively; P <.05). A total of 1077 (50%) surveys were received from patients in the urban area and 1061 (50%) from those in the rural area.
About 89% (1902/2138) of patients did not have an endoscopist sex preference, while 8% (172/2138) preferred a same-sex endoscopist, 2% (48/2138) preferred the opposite sex, and 1% (16/2,138) were missing a response.
Men were significantly more likely (11%; 95/905) to prefer a same-sex endoscopist compared with women (6%; 77/1207; P <.05). Regarding endoscopy team preferences, more patients preferred same-sex teams over same-sex endoscopists (17% vs 8%; P <.05). Women were more likely than men to prefer a same-sex endoscopy team member (26% vs 6%; P <.05).
Among the patients from urban areas, 9% (101/1077) had a same-sex preference, and 3% (30/1077) preferred the opposite sex, compared with 7% (71/1061) and 2% (18/1061) of patients from rural areas, respectively (P <.05).
Patients who had a lower gastrointestinal procedure were more likely to have a same-sex endoscopist preference vs patients who had an upper gastrointestinal procedure (10% vs 4%, respectively; P <.05)
Among several study limitations, the investigators did not assess whether the participants had a previous endoscopy, which may have affected their attitudes and beliefs about their endoscopic procedure and ultimately influenced their sex preferences. Additionally, the study did not evaluate which patients were undergoing a screening, surveillance, or therapeutic endoscopy, which may have potentially influenced the likelihood of having sex preferences. Finally, 89% of patients were White, potentially reducing generalizability.
“Oftentimes, patients undergoing endoscopic procedures have more interaction with the endoscopy team than the endoscopists themselves, and this may influence their screening and surveillance,” the researchers commented. “We found that patients cited ‘less embarrassing’ as a reason for their endoscopy team member gender preference as compared to those without team member preferences (P < .05),” they concluded.
Khara HS, Suthar D, Bergenstock M, et al. Identifying gender barriers for colorectal cancer screening and assessing the need for a multigender endoscopy team: a prospective multicenter study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2021;116(8):1646-1656. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001318