Female physicians have lower patient mortality, readmission rates: Study

Patients treated by female physicians have lower mortality and readmission rates, a recent study found.

The study, published April 23 in Annals of Internal Medicine, used a 20% random sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries hospitalized with medical conditions between 2016 and 2019 and treated by hospitalists. Of 458,108 female patients and 318,819 male patients, 31.1% and 30.6%, respectively, were treated by a female physician.

Both female and male patients had lower patient mortality when treated by a female physician, but female patients had greater results from being treated by female physicians. The difference in patient mortality between female and male physicians was 8.15% and 8.38% respectively. The pattern was similar for readmission rates.

For male patients, there was no significant difference in outcomes based on the gender of their physician.

"Studies have shown that treatment by female physicians leads to improved communication effectiveness, better rapport and greater agreement about advice provided in female patients," the researchers wrote. "Some (prior) studies also suggest that seeing a female physician is associated with higher quality-of-care processes, especially in female patients."

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