Female physicians' patients have lower death & readmission rates, study finds

Medicare patients treated by female physicians have lower 30-day mortality and readmission rates than those treated by male physicians, according to a study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers analyzed more than 1.5 million Medicare fee-for-service patients who were hospitalized from 2011 through 2014, examining the relationship between physician sex and mortality and readmission rates. They adjusted for patient, physician and hospital characteristics.

Of the 58,344 hospitalists who treated at least one Medicare patient, 18,751 were women. When compared to male physicians, the female physicians tended to be younger, were more likely to have had osteopathic training, and treated fewer patients.

Patients treated by female physicians had lower 30-day mortality rates (11.07 percent compared to 11.49 percent) and lower 30-day hospital readmission rates (15.02 percent compared to 15.57 percent).

Previous studies have shown female physicians are more likely to adhere to clinical-based guidelines and evidence-based practice. This study's authors concluded their findings "suggest that the differences in practice patterns between male and female physicians, as suggested in previous studies, may have important clinical implications for patient outcomes."

More articles on readmission and mortality rates:
49 hospitals with the lowest heart attack mortality rates
End-of-rotation transitions among care teams can increase risk of patient death, study finds
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