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Study finds lower mortality rates among patients treated by women physicians

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  • a month ago

A recent study involving over 776,000 patients has found that those who were treated by women physicians experienced lower mortality and re-admission rates compared to those who consulted male physicians. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on April 22, 2024, revealed that the benefits of receiving treatment from women physicians were particularly significant for female patients.

Researchers from the University of Tokyo analyzed data from Medicare claims and studied the outcomes of 458,108 female and 318,819 male patients aged 65 or older who had been hospitalized between 2016 and 2019. The study found that both female and male patients had lower adjusted re-admission rates when treated by a female physician. However, the differences in patient mortality between female and male physicians were small for male patients across primary diagnoses.

Among female patients, there was a trend toward lower patient mortality when treated by female physicians, especially for conditions related to the nervous system. Female patients who received treatment from women physicians also had a lower re-admission rate for kidney and urinary conditions.

The researchers suggested that there could be several reasons why treatment by women physicians may lead to better outcomes for female patients. They hypothesized that male physicians may underestimate the severity of illness among their female patients due to gender/sex differences in reported patterns of pain and gastrointestinal and cardiovascular issues. Additionally, treatment by female physicians may result in more patient-centered and effective communication, as well as alleviate embarrassment and discomfort during sensitive examinations and conversations.

Overall, the study's findings suggest that treatment by female physicians may have a beneficial impact on female patients, especially those who are severely ill. However, the researchers noted that the benefits of receiving care from women physicians were larger for female patients than for male patients across all conditions examined.

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