Study Finds Treatment by Women Physicians Associated with Lower Mortality

A new study has found that patients who are treated by women physicians have lower rates of mortality and hospital re-admission than patients who are treated by male doctors. While this benefit was seen among all participants, it was greater for women patients.

The research project was conducted by scholars with affiliations at the University of Tokyo, Harvard University, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of California, Los Angeles. The study reviewed mortality and re-admission data from nearly 800,000 patients who were hospitalized from 2016 to 2019. In this sample, about 31.1 percent of women patients and 30.6 percent of male patients were treated by women.

After their analysis, the authors found both women and men participants had a lower adjusted re-admission rate and mortality rate when treated by a woman doctor across a number of diagnosis, but the magnitude of this benefit varied by medical conditions. A particular lower 30-day mortality rate was seen among patients who sought treatment for nervous system diseases from women physicians compared to male physicians. Another significant discovery was a noticeable lower re-admission rate for kidney and urinary conditions for women treated by women physicians.

The authors suggest multiple reasons for why treatment by a women doctor may result in a lower mortality rate. When treating other women, women doctors may be more likely to understand their symptoms, center their care around effective communication, and alleviate embarrassment and discomfort during medical examinations.

Filed Under: Research/StudySTEM Fields


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