Hospital Patients Less Likely To Die With Female Doctor

The gender of your doctor may play a part in your prognosis: New research shows that hospitalized patients are less likely to die if they’re treated by a female physician.

About 10.15% of men and 8.2% of women died while under the care of a female doctor, versus 10.23% and 8.4% when treated by a male doctor, according to results published April 22 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

This is a troubling discrepancy, given that patient outcomes shouldn’t differ if men and women practice medicine in the same way, said senior study author Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa. He’s an associate professor-in-residence of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles.

“What our findings indicate is that female and male physicians practice medicine differently, and these differences have a meaningful impact on patients’ health outcomes,” Tsugawa said in an UCLA news release.

For the study, researchers analyzed Medicare claims data from 2016 to 2019 for about 458,100 female and nearly 319,800 male patients. Of those, roughly 31% were treated by female doctors.

Not only were patients less likely to die with a female doctor, but they also were less likely to land back in the hospital within a month of discharge, researchers found.

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