In a study that is sure to rile male doctors, Harvard researchers have found that female doctors who care for elderly hospitalized patients get better results. Patients cared for by women were less likely to die or return to the hospital after discharge.
Previous research has shown that female doctors are more likely to follow recommendations about prevention counseling and to order preventive tests like Pap smears and mammograms.
But the latest work, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, is the first to show a big difference in the result that matters most to patients: life or death.
The study’s authors estimate “that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year.”
“Of course! What did you expect?” replied the wife of Dr. Ashish Jha, the study’s senior author, when he shared his team’s findings with her. Jha said he expects a backlash over the study results. But his team’s methodology, successfully put through multiple analyses, makes this work noteworthy, he added. To read more from JOHN HENNING SCHUMANN and SARAH-ANNE HENNING SCHUMANN click here.