A recent study shows that your doctor's gender may influence your survival. The study claims that patients who got their care from female doctors are more likely to leave the hospital alive, compared to those treated by men.
There Is A Slight Difference In Mortality If A Patient Is Treated By A Female Doctor
Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa, a health policy researcher at Harvard University in Boston and lead author of the study, said that elderly patients may be less likely to die prematurely or be re-admitted to the hospital for serious health complications when they are treated by female doctors. The odds of a patient dying within a month after being admitted is 4 percent lower, while the chance of re-admission within the first month after leaving the hospital is 5 percent smaller.
"The difference in mortality rates surprised us. However, it was largely unknown whether such differences have a meaningful impact on patient outcomes," Tsugawa said.
The researchers looked at 30-day mortality rates, such as how many patients died within 30 days of being admitted to the hospital - and 30-day readmission rates, or how often patients returned to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.
Female Doctors Are More Likely To Follow Treatment Guidelines Than Men
Although the study did not probe on why there might a difference, but researchers suggest that male doctors could a take a cue from women doctors. Female physicians are more likely to follow treatment guidelines, provide preventive care more often and communicate more with patients, compared to men.
Some doctors say that this study does not really prove whether doctors' sex accounted for the results. But if they could assume a direct relationship, the authors say, and extrapolate that data to the 10 million Medicare hospitalizations a year in the US, there would be a lot fewer deaths: "We estimate that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year."