A new Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine study has stated that elderly hospitalized patients treated by female internists tend to have less mortality and readmission rates comparing to those treated with male internists.
Statistics have shown that female physicians comprise of nearly one-third of practicing physicians and almost half of medical school graduates in the United States.
When it comes to treatment and medical practice, it has been shown that there is a difference between male and female physicians.
Female physicians are more adherent to guidelines and evidence-based medicine, they provide more preventive and consultation measures, perform more precise examinations, and communicate with patients in much better ways.
Previous studies have mostly focused on these differences; however, in a new study, which is published in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine, authors have evaluated the differences in the outcome of male and female physicians practice in the point of mortality and hospital readmissions.
This study, which was conducted in the United States and took 4 years to complete, randomly recruited 20% of patients 65 years old or older hospitalized through the Medicare fee-for-service program. All the study subjects were selected from those patients who were hospitalized and treated for a medical condition by general internists. The association between the physicians’ gender and 30-day mortality and readmissions were evaluated.
Based on the results, a total number of1,583,028 hospitalizations were included in the final analyses of mortality and readmissions. Patients were at a mean age of 80.2 years and findings showed that patients treated by female physicians had significantly lower 30-day mortality rates (11.07% vs. 11.49%) and lower readmissions (15.02 vs. 15.57) comparing to those treated by male internists. These findings were unaffected when adjusting different hospital settings and severity of patients’ illnesses.
At the end, researchers have concluded that the difference in practice of medicine between male and female internists may have important clinical outcomes. Understanding why these differences in care and outcomes exist provides valuable insight in improving the quality care for all patients.
Written By: Nima Makhdami, M.D.