Hospitals compete for untapped men's health market

Hospitals around the country are now targeting men--opening medical centers solely for the male population to address an untapped market for services such as heart monitoring, hair removal and hormone therapy, according to an article in the New York Times.

NYU Langone Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell in New York City; Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island; and St. Francis Care in Hartford, Connecticut have all opened men-only medical centers to focus on issues like prostate health and erectile dysfunction, the Times reported. New York-Presbyterian employs a large number of urologists, and offers Botox treatment for overactive bladders and a physical therapist who works on the pelvic area to reduce stress-related pain.

The medical centers want to create a safe space where men feel free and willing to participate in their medical care and ask for help. A 2012 Boston Medical Center study found men were more likely than women to go to the emergency room within a month of being discharged, especially if they were unmarried or retired.

However, gender-oriented healthcare may lead to overtesting and overtreatment, said Steven Woloshin, M.D., a professor of community and family medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Doctors commonly address issues such as low-testosterone and prostate-specific antigen screening  for prostate cancer, the treatment of which could do more harm than good in men without symptoms of those conditions, according to the article.

Staff at the medical centers, most of whom are men, said they base tests on the individual's history and treat the symptoms while considering the man's health as a whole. "Are you creating a need or are you meeting a need? I think meeting a need--based on the longevity gap and men not taking care of themselves," Steven Lamm, M.D., medical director of Langone's Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men's Health, told the Times.

To learn more:
- here's the article
- check out the study

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