Hospitalized Patients Treated by Female Doctors Show Lower Mortality

Published on naked capitalism (first on Down With Tyranny), by Yves Smith, Dec 22, 2016;

  • … Boston, MA – Elderly hospitalized patients treated by female physicians are less likely to die within 30 days of admission, or to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge, than those cared for by male physicians, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It is the first research to document differences in how male and female physicians treat patients result in different outcomes for hospitalized patients in the U.S.  
  • The researchers estimated that if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as their female colleagues, there would be 32,000 fewer deaths each year among Medicare patients alone—a number comparable to the annual number of motor vehicle accident deaths nationally.
  • The study was published online December 19, 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

There’s more. The sickest patients appear to benefit most from treatment by female doctors:

  • “The difference in mortality rates surprised us,” said lead author Yusuke Tsugawa, research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management. “The gender of the physician appears to be particularly significant for the sickest patients. These findings indicate that potential differences in practice patterns between male and female physicians may have important clinical implications.”

The study offers some clues as to why this is the case, noting that “for example, female physicians are more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and provide more patient-centered communication.” But it also notes that much more information is needed … //

… (full text).


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