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Female doctors better than male doctors?

One thing our readers may have come across lately when reading or listening to the news is a story about a recent study comparing male and female doctors. This study has been getting a good amount of attention in the media.

What exactly did this study find? Well, it found that when it comes to certain patient outcome measures, female doctors tend to do a little better than male doctors.

The study looked at the 30-day mortality rates and return-to-hospital rates for 1.5 million hospital patients. The patients were elderly individuals on Medicare. Their hospital visits happened between 2011 and 2015. The visits were non-surgical.

Using this data, researchers compared the outcomes of the patients who were cared for by female doctors and those who where cared for by male doctors. The study found that those who received care from a female physician had lower likelihoods both for going back to the hospital within a month of their visit and dying within a month of their visit. The researchers estimate that about 32,000 lives a year would be saved if all doctors had the same patient outcome levels that the study found female doctors to have.

Now, this does not mean that a person can’t get good and quality care from a male doctor. Rather, it points to their possibly being some differences in how male and female doctors care for patients. Determining these differences and the impacts they can have on patient outcomes may help provide insights that could help all doctors improve their care levels. So, it will be interesting to see what future studies find regarding what might be leading to patient outcome differences between male and female doctors.

One wonders if there are any differences between male and female doctors when it comes to frequency of facing legal issues, such as license issues, in relation to their patient care. Whether a doctor is male or female and whatever area of medicine they practice in, how legal issues that arise for them in relation to patient care are dealt with can have major impacts on their career and life. So, when such issues come up, a physician may want to promptly talk over the issues with a skilled health law attorney.

Source: NBC News, "Female Doctors Outperform Male Doctors, According to Study,” Maggie Fox, Dec. 19, 2016

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