Open Access

Understanding gender bias toward physicians using online doctor reviews


Gender bias continues to be an ongoing issue in the field of medicine. While bias may come in many forms, patients’ biases and perceptions have been understudied and may impact adherence to treatment, leading to unequal outcomes. Online reviews for doctors are a naturalistic way to study gender bias. In this study, we leveraged the LIWC psychological linguistic analysis tool to analyze the language styles of ZocDoc and RateMDs reviews and understand the potential role of gender in patients’ perceptions of their doctors. Mean differences were calculated using bootstrapped hierarchical linear modeling. We found that reviews for female physicians are generally more informal and emotional than those for male physicians. While our study was exploratory, the results suggest that both patients and physicians need to increase their awareness of how their biases may be affecting how they give and receive vital health information.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Psychology, Applied Psychology