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Sex differences in medico-legal action against doctors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medicine, August 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

8 news outlets
4 blogs
143 tweeters
3 Facebook pages
4 Wikipedia pages
1 Google+ user
2 Redditors


38 Dimensions

Readers on

69 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
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Sex differences in medico-legal action against doctors: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Published in
BMC Medicine, August 2015
DOI 10.1186/s12916-015-0413-5
Pubmed ID

Emily Unwin, Katherine Woolf, Clare Wadlow, Henry W. W. Potts, Jane Dacre


The relationship between male sex and poor performance in doctors remains unclear, with high profile studies showing conflicting results. Nevertheless, it is an important first step towards understanding the causes of poor performance in doctors. This article aims to establish the robustness of the association between male sex and poor performance in doctors, internationally and over time. The electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO were searched from inception to January 2015. Backward and forward citation searching was performed. Journals that yielded the majority of the eligible articles and journals in the medical education field were electronically searched, along with the conference and poster abstracts from two of the largest international medical education conferences. Studies reporting original data, written in English or French, examining the association between sex and medico-legal action against doctors were included. Two reviewers independently extracted study characteristics and outcome data from the full texts of the studies meeting the eligibility criteria. Study quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. A random effect meta-analysis model was used to summarize and assess the effect of doctors' sex on medico-legal action. Extracted outcomes included disciplinary action by a medical regulatory board, malpractice experience, referral to a medical regulatory body, complaints received by a healthcare complaints body, criminal cases, and medico-legal matter with a medical defence organisation. Overall, 32 reports examining the association between doctors' sex and medico-legal action were included in the systematic review (n=4,054,551), of which 27 found that male doctors were more likely to have experienced medico-legal action. 19 reports were included in the meta-analysis (n=3,794,486, including 20,666 cases). Results showed male doctors had nearly two and a half times the odds of being subject to medico-legal action than female doctors. Heterogeneity was present in all meta-analyses. Male doctors are more likely to have had experienced medico-legal actions compared to female doctors. This finding is robust internationally, across outcomes of varying severity, and over time.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 143 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 69 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 1%
United States 1 1%
Unknown 67 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 13 19%
Student > Ph. D. Student 11 16%
Other 7 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 6 9%
Student > Master 5 7%
Other 17 25%
Unknown 10 14%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 27 39%
Social Sciences 11 16%
Nursing and Health Professions 5 7%
Business, Management and Accounting 4 6%
Psychology 3 4%
Other 9 13%
Unknown 10 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 194. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 17 April 2020.
All research outputs
of 21,689,971 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medicine
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Outputs of similar age
of 250,018 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medicine
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,689,971 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 3,176 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 41.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 250,018 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them