What women want from their physicians: A qualitative analysis

Cara Houle, Eileen M Harwood, Angela Watkins, Karyn D Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Despite increased efforts to improve the education of trainees in women's health, little information exists about what women want from their healthcare providers. Existing information from studies focuses on patient care and medical knowledge rather than on all six competencies mandated by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Objectives: To identify what adult female patients want their physicians to know and be able to do in all ACGME competency areas in order to guide development of graduate women's health curricula. Methods: We conducted two focus groups with 18 volunteer adult female patients and one focus group with 5 community advocates. Questions addressed all six competency areas. The same female researcher moderated all three sessions. Two researchers analyzed session transcriptions for themes. Results: Female patients and community advocates consistently stressed the need for their physicians to be able to navigate the healthcare system and to be their advocates. They also noted the need for physicians skilled in working with patients from a variety of cultures and for developing and maintaining respectful doctor-patient relationships, including good interpersonal communication. Conclusions: Patients' expectations of physicians extend beyond medical knowledge and patient care into the areas of communication, systems-based practice, and professionalism. Curricular changes in women's health at the postgraduate level should emphasize skills in these competencies, and needs assessment processes would do well to include patient viewpoints in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-550
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2007


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