When it comes to booking your next doctor’s appointment, you may have a different outlook on who attends to your care. A study released by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that female physicians have different patient outcomes from their male counterparts. Data collected from over one million patients over the age of 65 shows that 30-day mortality and hospital readmission rates differed between patients that were treated with either a male or female physician. Those treated by female physicians had both lowered mortality and hospital readmission rates. Although the sample size was limited to patients over the age of 65, it poses an interesting question as to why there are different patient outcomes.
The study researchers noted that “literature has shown that female doctors may be more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines, provide preventative care more often, use more patient-centered communication, perform as well or better on standardized examinations, and provide more psychosocial counseling to their patients than do their male peers.”
This implication has broad effects across the medical industry as women make up nearly 50% of medical school graduates. However, across the board, there are gender disparities in salary and rank and promotions. Regardless, with greater numbers of female physicians, it has been estimated that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die “if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year.”
Nevertheless, it takes the collective efforts of all physicians to achieve greater health outcomes in patients, and gender is not conducive to quality care. Male or female, outstanding physicians are outstanding physicians, but the next time you book your doctor’s appointment – don’t overlook the female physician!