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Emerg Med J. 2010 Jun;27(6):465-9. doi: 10.1136/emj.2008.070383.

Patient choice of provider type in the emergency department: perceptions and factors relating to accommodation of requests for care providers.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5604, USA.



Patient satisfaction is related to the perception of care. Some patients prefer, and are more satisfied with, providers of the same gender, race or religious faith. This study examined emergency medical provider attitudes towards, as well as patient and provider characteristics that are associated with, accommodating such requests.


A survey administered to a convenience sample of participants at the 2007 American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly. The nine-question survey ascertained Likert-type responses to the likelihood of accommodating patient requests for specific provider types. Statistical analyses used Wilcoxon rank-sum, Wilcoxon signed-rank and Cochran's Q tests.


The 176 respondents were predominantly white (83%) and male (74%), with a mean age of 42 y. Nearly a third of providers felt that patients perceive better care from providers of shared demographics with racial matching perceived as more important than gender or religion (p=0.02). Female providers supported patient requests for same gender providers more so than males (p<0.01). Provider race, practice location, type and duration did not significantly affect the level of accommodation. When requesting like providers, female patients had higher accommodation scores than male patients (p<0.001), non-whites than whites (p<0.05), with Muslim patients (male or female) most likely to be accommodated (p<0.01).


Accommodating patient requests for providers of specific demographics within the emergency department may be related to provider characteristics. When patients ask for same gender providers, female providers are more likely to accommodate such a request than male providers. Female, non-white and Muslim patients may be more likely to have their requests honoured for matched providers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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