Being treated by a female physician associated with lower risk for death

Being treated by a female physician associated with lower risk for death


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An observational study of more than 700,000 male and female patients found that patients treated by female physicians experienced lower mortality and readmission rates compared to patients treated by male physicians. The authors also found that these effects were amplified in female patients treated by female physicians. The study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Tokyo conducted a retrospective observational study of Medicare patients aged 65 years or older who were hospitalized during 2016 to 2019 and treated by hospitalists to examine whether the association between physician sex and hospital outcomes varied between female and male patients. Of 458,108 female and 318,819 male patients, 142465 (31.1%) and 97,500 (30.6%) were treated by female physicians, respectively. The authors found that in addition to the lower mortality and readmission rates for male and female patients treated by female physicians, the difference between female and male physicians was especially large and clinically meaningful for female patients. The authors note that for female and male patients, length of stay, Part B spending, proportion of intensive evaluation and management claims, and likelihood of discharge to home did not differ between male and female physicians. According to the authors, there may be several reasons for this notable difference in care: male physicians may underestimate illness severity among female patients; being treated by female physicians may be associated with patient-centered and effective communication among female patients; and treatment by female physicians may help alleviate embarrassment, discomfort, and sociocultural taboos during sensitive examinations and conversations for female patients.

Media contacts: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Angela Collom at [email protected]. To speak with the corresponding author, Atsushi Miyawaki, MD, PhD, please contact [email protected]


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