The study “really challenges the assumption that the pay gap is due to female physicians working part time or just working less,” Neprash said. “We actually see the pay gap is accompanied by spending more time with patients. It’s a little bit surprising because it counters the usual narrative.” Additionally, the study found women doctors were slightly less likely than male doctors to bill codes for higher-intensity visits, which usually generate more revenue, even if they qualified to do so. Neprash said the finding only accounts for a small share of the difference in revenue between male and female doctors, but it’s worth noting, especially because the doctors were being compared to colleagues in the same practice. As healthcare continues to develop new payment models that rely less on volume of visits, Neprash said the study findings suggest that may help address the gender pay gap. “There are a lot of arguments to moving away from fee-for-service and we kind of provide one more reason why (its) a flawed system,” she said. The study examined about 24.4 million primary care visits in 2017 involving 8.5 million patients and 8,302 primary care doctors across the country. About 36.4% of the doctors in the study were female. All-payer claims data and electronic health record data were supplied by athenahealth.
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