Have a female doctor? This may be very good news for you according to a recent study! A Harvard research team revealed that on average a female doctor is better (than their male counterparts) at keeping their hospital patients healthier (long term) as well as treating them while in their care.
The research team analyzed Medicare patients’ samples at random between the years of 2011 and 2014. When all was said and done, the study team reviewed over 1.5 million hospitalization cases, allowing and noting for differences within patient circumstances and hospitals. The conclusion? Those who were treated by female doctors had a decreased chance of death within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital. Additionally, their chances of re-admittance also decreased within the month they left the hospital as well.
As one of the co-authors Ashish Jha stated, female doctors were likelier to follow clinical guidelines and participate in evidence-based medicine. They also seemed to communicate more to their patients, versus the male doctors. It’s important to note, this was the first study of its kind to actually reveal that women doctors are more effective than their male physicians.
Interestingly enough, these results come out during a time when hospitals are feeling the pressure to find ways to keep patients healthy and for longer periods of time after discharge. A health law established in 2010 reorganized how hospitals received payment so they could place a reward on long-term health and allow for penalties if patients were readmitted. While newly elected President Donald Trump has promised to revoke this, some say that these payment reforms will still stay intact.
With this rewards idea in mind, and with the study results as they are, hospitals may start to see female doctors in a new light. Sadly, research in the past has found that female doctors have consistently earned less than male doctors and have had a lesser chance of getting promoted. This to which Jha states is not only unfair, but inefficient. Especially when you consider the fact that these female physicians may be ultimately providing better care.
CNN reported that while the study was able to suggest that female doctors are better at following the rules and communicate when they are taking care of their patients in a hospital, it is still unclear as to why this difference comes about.
Still, it’s important to note that the limited factor on the report is that it only focused on older, Medicare patients, within inpatient settings.