A female patient being treated by a female doctor. It is found that female doctors have higher life saving rates than male doctors. (PAVEL DANILYUK/PEXELS)
A female patient being treated by a female doctor. It is found that female doctors have higher life saving rates than male doctors. (PAVEL DANILYUK/PEXELS)

A female patient being treated by a female doctor. It is found that female doctors have higher life saving rates than male doctors. (PAVEL DANILYUK/PEXELS)



By Stephen Beech

And female patients are more likely to benefit from the “gentle touch”, according to the study.

 

Researchers found that patients have lower rates of mortality and hospital readmissions when treated by female physicians- with female patients benefitting more than their male counterparts.

 

Medical staff discussing confidential information. The gender pay between male doctors and female doctors remains at large. (GUSTAVO FRING/PEXELS)

 

Hospital patients treated by women doctors are less likely to die, reveals new research.

 

The mortality rate for female patients was 8.15 percent when treated by women physicians compared to 8.38 percent when the doctor was male – a “clinically significant” difference, according to the findings published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

 

While the difference for male patients was slightly smaller, female physicians still had the edge with a 10.15 percent mortality rate compared with male doctors’ 10.23 percent rate.

 

The American research team found the same pattern for hospital readmission rates.

 

They examined Medicare claims data from 2016 to 2019 for more than 458,000 female and over 319,000 male patients. Of those, 142,500 and 97,500 – around 31 percent for both – were treated by female doctors.

 

Study senior author Professor Yusuke Tsugawa says patient outcomes should not differ between male and female physicians if they practice medicine the same way.

 

“What our findings indicate is that female and male physicians practice medicine differently,” said Tsugawa about the differences between males and female doctors. “These differences have a meaningful impact on patients’ health outcomes.

 

The researchers say several factors may be behind the differences.

 

They suggest that male doctors might underestimate the severity of their female patients’ illness.

 

Previous research has noted that male doctors underestimate their female patients’ pain levels, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular symptoms, and stroke risk, which could lead to delayed or incomplete care.

 

The team believes women doctors may communicate better with their female patients, making it likelier that their patients provide important information leading to better diagnosis and treatment.

 

They also suggest that female patients may be more comfortable with receiving sensitive examinations and engaging in detailed conversations with female doctors.

 

However, the team says that more research is needed into how and why male and female physicians practice medicine differently and its impact on patient care,

Tsugawa, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said: “A better understanding of this topic could lead to the development of interventions that effectively improve patient care.”

 

He says gender pay gaps among doctors should also be eliminated.

 

“It is important to note that female physicians provide high-quality care, and therefore,” said Tsugawa. “Having more female physicians benefits patients from a societal point-of-view.”

 

 

Produced in association with SWNS Talker