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Gynecologists Are Good Source of Preventive Services

Women who see gynecologist more likely to receive preventive care than those who see general physician

THURSDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Women who receive their health care from gynecologists -- either alone or in conjunction with general physicians -- are more likely to receive preventive services than women who only see general physicians, researchers report in the April issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Beth G. Lewis, M.D., of Drexel University in New Brunswick, N.J., and colleagues analyzed data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey on 7,317 women aged 18 to 64 to assess general and gender-specific services -- such as exercise counseling and mammograms -- and the type of provider.

Women who saw only a gynecologist were more likely to have Pap tests, tobacco screening, mammography and clinical breast examination, the investigators found. Overall, seeing both a gynecologist and general physician didn't increase the chances of preventive care. Also, regardless of provider, rates of gender-neutral services were low.

"These findings demonstrate that gynecologists perform as well as or better than general medical physicians in the delivery of the seven preventive services we studied. From the standpoint of preventive health care, these findings validate policy decisions that facilitate women's access to gynecologists, such as identifying gynecologists as primary care providers in managed care plans. They also add credibility to women's decisions to rely on gynecologists to receive basic health care screenings and counseling. It is important to note, however, that patients of both gynecologists and general medical physicians had overall low rates of gender-neutral preventive care," the authors write.

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