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About a third of people call doctors by their first names, a new study shows

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 27, 2020 file photo, Medical personnel adjust their personal protective equipment while working in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan in New York. Hospitals and nursing homes in New York are bracing for the possibility that a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers could lead to staff shortages when it takes effect Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. Doctors and nurses — and also support staff, like food service workers and cleaners — have been given until Sept. 27 to get at least their first vaccine shot in one of the nation's most aggressive plans to protect patients. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 27, 2020 file photo, Medical personnel adjust their personal protective equipment while working in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan in New York. Hospitals and nursing homes in New York are bracing for the possibility that a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers could lead to staff shortages when it takes effect Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. Doctors and nurses — and also support staff, like food service workers and cleaners — have been given until Sept. 27 to get at least their first vaccine shot in one of the nation's most aggressive plans to protect patients. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

About a third of people call their doctors by their first names, a new study shows.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic analyzed about 90,000 messages between 1,092 doctors and nearly 15,000 of their patients.

Women doctors were twice as likely than their male counterparts to be called by their first names, and osteopathic doctors were twice as likely to be called by their first names than doctors with M.D. degrees. Additionally, primary care physicians were 50% more likely to be referred to by their first names than specialty doctors.

Women patients were 40% less likely to use their doctors' first names.

Researchers analyzed patient and doctor demographics, such as age and gender, but did not account for "potential cultural, racial, or ethnic nuances in greeting structure," they said.

They also did not measure whether a physician prefers to be called by their first name or not. Messages were evaluated by a natural language processing algorithm.

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