In research that is set to upset male doctors across the world, Harvard University suggest that patients who are cared by female doctors are more likely to live than if they were looked after by males.
They were also far less likely to be readmitted within 30 days of being discharged from hospital.
This study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, is the first to show how the difference between male and female doctors can ultimately impact an ill person’s survival rate.
The researchers collected and analysed data from more than one million Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and over who had been hospitalised with a medical condition and treated by “general internists” between 2011 and 2014.
“The difference in mortality rates surprised us,” lead author Yusuke Tsugawa, research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management explains.
“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 authors also reflected on previous research in a bid to understand the difference between how men and women practice medicine, and why female doctors may have a lower rate of patient deaths than their male counterparts.
One claim that they came upon was that past studies indicate that “female physicians are more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and provide more patient-centered communication than men".
Plus, according to NPR , research has also shown that female doctors are more likely to order preventative tests, like Pap smears, as well as follow suggested recommendations surrounding prevention counselling.
“There was ample evidence that male and female physicians practice medicine differently,” says senior author of the study Ashish Jha, K.T. Li Professor of Health Policy and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.
“Our findings suggest that those differences matter and are important to patient health.”
“We need to understand why female physicians have lower mortality so that all patients can have the best possible outcomes, irrespective of the gender of their physician.”
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