To the Editor:
With great interest we have read the article by Forkin et al.1 regarding the effect of anesthesiologist age and sex on patient perception of physician competence. We appreciate and congratulate the authors for setting up a meaningful trial and sharing such useful findings. There are, however, two important points of concern.
First, the authors did not calculate the sample size before recruiting participants. They did conduct a postefficacy test that reported a power greater than 0.8; however, a linear model was used to conduct the power analysis with multiple variables. Currently, as far as we know, the generally accepted power analyses methods are only limited to univariate power analysis, and although there are many multivariate power analysis methods, none are generally accepted and feasible.2
Second, in an article previously written by the authors,3 they reported that the sex of the anesthesiologist did not significantly affect patient perception of the anesthesiologist’s abilities (intelligence, confidence, care for family member), whereas in this study they reported the opposite result (confidence and care for family member in White participants). Two similar studies have produced confusing and conflicting results on the factor of sex. To summarize, we think the conclusion of this study that sex influences patient perception of physician competence may be unstable.
The authors declare no competing interests.