Bottom Line: Female surgeons in Ontario, Canada, earned less per hour than their male counterparts within a fee-for-service system, and women were less likely to perform the most lucrative procedures. Fee-for-services systems of payment are often proposed as being unbiased. This analysis used administrative data from a single-payer health system to compare earnings per hour spent operating for 3,275 surgeons who performed 1.5 million surgical procedures between 2014 and 2016. Female surgeons had practiced fewer years than male surgeons and the largest proportion of female surgeons practiced gynecology. Researchers report female surgeons earned 24% less per hour than male surgeons, with the largest average earning differences in cardiothoracic surgery at nearly $60 (in US dollars) per hour and orthopedic surgery at $55 per hour. Limitations of the study include the small number of women in some specialties, limiting the ability to identify earnings differences. Earnings differences also may have been underestimated.
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Authors: Nancy N. Baxter, M.D., Ph.D., University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and coauthors
Editor's Note: The article includes funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Nancy N. Baxter, M.D., Ph.D., email Jennifer Stranges at Jennifer.Stranges@unityhealth.to. The full study and commentary are linked to this news release.
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