Differences and disparities between male and female physicians in most specialties have been well documented, and cardiology is no exception, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Cardiology. But researchers say conventional wisdom about the cause of the gender gap is suspect.
The study found female cardiologists earned less than their male counterparts, with mean salaries of $400,162 and $510,996, respectively. As previous research has shown, the pay gap can't all be explained by women working fewer hours, noted an article in Medscape.
Even after adjusting for job and productivity characteristics such as on-call coverage, procedural volumes and other work activities, female cardiologists in the study sample would have been expected to have a mean salary that was $31,749 higher than that observed, noted investigators, who presented their findings at the American Heart Association 2015 Scientific Sessions.
More unexpectedly, the survey of 2,679 U.S. cardiologists revealed that 53 percent of the 229 women, compared to 28 percent of the 2,450 men specialized in general/noninvasive cardiology. Eleven percent of women versus 39 percent of men had an interventional subspecialty.
"We were surprised to see how different job descriptions were between male and female cardiologists, and how few women actually worked part-time," Pamela Douglas, M.D., of Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, North Carolina, and a lead author of the study, told Medscape.
These findings present a call to medical groups to consider more carefully how all of their physicians are compensated regardless of gender, noted Douglas.
In spite of disparities, female physicians, who now represent one-third of doctors, are generally more optimistic than their male counterparts about the future of healthcare, according to a recent Physicians Foundation survey.