The research was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers at Harvard University reviewed 1,583,028 patient visits to the Medicare Hospital. Within 30 days of arrival at the hospital, mortality and readmission rates were significantly lower when the patient’s physician was female.
This was true for people with medical conditions of all kinds. The researchers tried to take into account all the variables; but they eventually concluded that women are superior to men in treating these patients (aged 65 and over) in hospital. Individuals treated by a woman had a 4 percent lower risk and 5 percent lower risk after being admitted to hospital the following month.
To explain the difference, the researchers point to previous studies that have shown that female physicians are more likely to provide preventive care and psychosocial counseling. These women are also more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines. Although Redberg and Parks notes in today ‘s editorial guidance, adherence to clinical guidelines “does not always equate to the quality or value of care. “
On the contrary, they indicate that female doctors “have a more patient-centered style of communication, they are more encouraging and reassuring, and their consultations last longer than male physicians. “
But that does not mean that everyone should rush to choose a female doctor, and massively dismiss men. In the newspaper article, the researchers conclude: “. Understanding exactly why these differences exist in quality models and the practice of care can provide valuable insights “
And in a press release, researcher Ashish Jha said the next step would be “to understand why women doctors have lower mortality, so that all patients can have the best results possible, regardless of their doctor.”
Although gender differences in practice styles have been presented in previous research, today’s study is the first to compare these significant findings on death and re-hospitalization. These are the results that many patients and physicians – and certainly hospitals and insurance companies – care most about.