Hospitalized patients who see a female doctor are less likely to die within 30 days of discharge and are also less likely to get readmitted within a month, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. Harvard researchers examined more than 1.5 million hospitalizations of Medicare patients who were treated by general internists between January 2011 and December 2014.
After controlling for differences in hospitals and patient cases, the researchers found that women doctors are more likely to rely on evidence-based medicine, and follow generally agreed upon clinical guidelines.
The authors posit that potential differences in practice patterns between male and female doctors may have important clinical implications. Researchers “estimate that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year. The effect would be even larger if the associations between physician sex and patient outcomes also hold for non-Medicare populations.”