Are women better doctors?
A new study published today in the JAMA Intern Med has indicated that if male doctors were able to care for their elderly patients as expertly as female doctors do in the hospital, we could save 32,000 lives a year. The study showed that elderly hospitalized patients treated by female internists have lower mortality and readmissions compared with those cared for by male internists. These findings suggest that the differences in practice patterns between male and female physicians, as suggested in previous studies, may have important clinical implications for patient outcomes.
“If we had a treatment that lowered mortality by 0.4 percentage points or half a percentage point, that is a treatment we would use widely. We would think of that as a clinically important treatment we want to use for our patients,” Ashish Jha, professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health told the Washington Post recently. The estimate that 32,000 patients’ lives could be saved in the Medicare population alone is on par with the number of deaths from vehicle crashes each year.
Tsugawa Y, Jena AB, Figueroa JF, Orav EJ, Blumenthal DM, Jha AK. Comparison of Hospital Mortality and Readmission Rates for Medicare Patients Treated by Male vs Female Physicians. JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 19, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7875
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