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Patients Treated by Male vs Female Physicians: Who Fares Better?

Patients Treated by Male vs Female Physicians: Who Fares Better?
Author Information (click to view)

JAMA Internal Medicine


JAMA Internal Medicine (click to view)

JAMA Internal Medicine

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Do patient outcomes differ between those treated by male and female physicians?

In a cross-sectional study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers examined nationally representative data of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries. They found that patients treated by female physicians had significantly lower mortality rates (adjusted mortality rate, 11.07% vs 11.49%) and readmission rates (adjusted readmission rate, 15.02% vs 15.57%) compared with those cared for by male physicians within the same hospital.

Differences in practice patterns between male and female physicians, as suggested in previous studies, may have important clinical implications for patient outcomes.

Studies have found differences in practice patterns between male and female physicians, with female physicians more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and evidence-based practice. However, whether patient outcomes differ between male and female physicians is largely unknown.

Highlights

♦  20% random sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries 65 years or older were analyzed and treated by general internists.

♦  The association between physician sex and 30-day mortality and readmission rates were examined, as well as whether differences in patient outcomes varied by specific condition or by underlying severity of illness.

♦ A total of 1,583,028 hospitalizations were used for analyses of 30-day mortality and 1,540,797 were used for analyses of readmission

♦  Patients treated by female physicians had lower 30-day mortality (11.07% vs 11.49%) and lower 30-day readmissions (15.02% vs 15.57%) than patients cared for by male physicians.

The researchers conclude that these findings suggest that the differences in practice patterns between male and female physicians, as suggested in previous studies, may have important clinical implications for patient outcomes.

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