Patients ‘less likely to die’ if treated by a female doctor, study reveals

Patients treated by female doctors have a reduced risk of dying, and female patients benefit more than their male counterparts, new research shows.

The mortality rate for female patients was 8.15 percent when treated by female doctors, compared to 8.38 percent when the doctor was male.

While the difference for male patients was smaller, female doctors had a mortality rate of 10.15 percent, compared to 10.23 percent for males.

The study, published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of internal medicine, found the same trend for hospital readmission rates.

Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa, associate professor of medicine in residency at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, and lead author of the study, said the findings are important and could help improve care. provided to future patients.

“Patient outcomes should not differ between male and female physicians if they practice medicine in the same way,” he said.

“Our findings indicate that male and female physicians practice medicine differently, and that these differences have a significant impact on patient health outcomes.

“Further research into the underlying mechanisms linking physician gender to patient outcomes, and why the benefit of treatment by female physicians is greater for female patients, has the potential to improve outcomes for patients at all levels. »

Researchers examined Medicare claims data from 2016 to 2019 for 458,100 women and about 319,800 men.

Of these, 142,500 and 97,500, or about 31 percent of both, were treated by female doctors.

The primary outcomes were mortality 30 days from the date of hospital admission and readmission 30 days from the date of discharge.

Male doctors ‘may underestimate the severity of female patients’ illnesses’

The researchers said several factors could explain these differences.

Previous research has shown that male doctors may underestimate the severity of their female patients’ illnesses, from pain levels to gastrointestinal and cardiovascular symptoms to stroke risk, which which could result in delayed or incomplete care.

It indicates that female doctors can communicate better with their female patients, making it more likely that those patients will provide important information leading to better diagnoses and treatments.

Female patients may be more comfortable undergoing sensitive examinations and engaging in detailed conversations with female doctors.

Another study found that female doctors are more empathetic, which could help reduce their patients’ pain and anxiety. It has been found that patients of empathetic doctors are more likely to take their medications as prescribed.

Dr. Tsugawa says more research is needed on how and why male and female doctors practice medicine differently and its effects on patient care.

“A better understanding of this topic could lead to the development of interventions that would effectively improve patient care,” he said.

Additionally, gender gaps in doctors’ pay should be eliminated, he said.

“It is important to note that female doctors provide high-quality care and therefore having more female doctors benefits patients from a societal perspective,” he said.

The study confirms similar findings published last year that found patients operated on by a female surgeon were less likely to die or suffer complications than those whose operations were performed by a male doctor.

The research, a collaboration between surgeons from Canada and the United States, published by the Jama Surgery journal, found that female surgeons had lower rates of adverse postoperative outcomes, including death at 90 days and one year postoperatively, compared to those treated by male surgeons.

Its authors concluded that the findings further support differences in patient outcomes based on physician gender, warranting further study regarding underlying causes and potential solutions.

The document, titled Sex of Surgeons and Long-Term Postoperative Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Common Surgical Proceduresexamined whether there was an association between surgeon gender and long-term patient outcomes.

Another Swedish study of 150,000 patients undergoing gallbladder surgery found that patients treated by female surgeons suffered fewer complications and experienced shorter hospital stays than those operated on by men.

The research, which was also published in Jama Surgery, found that female surgeons operated more slowly than men and were less likely to switch from a keyhole technique to an open procedure.

Professor Martin Almquist of Skåne University Hospital in Sweden wrote in an accompanying editorial: “The fact that female surgeons underwent operations with fewer complications but longer operation times suggests that the Navy’s mantra Seals “slow is gentle, and gentle is fast” also applies to surgery. .”

Day of admission

According to a previous study of patients admitted to hospitals in England in 2013 and 2014, the day a patient was admitted was also important for mortality risk.

It showed that people admitted on weekends are at higher risk of death within 30 days, even when the severity of their illness is taken into account.

Patients admitted on a Saturday and Sunday have a 10 to 15 percent higher risk of death than those admitted on a Wednesday.

Updated: April 23, 2024, 1:57 p.m.

News Source :
Gn Health

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