A recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal has revealed that female doctors offer better patient care than their male counterparts.
The research, conducted in the USA, over four years and using data from 1.5 million hospital visits, proved that female doctors had significantly lower mortality rates and readmission rates. This was comparative to male doctors in the same hospital.
Studies have suggested for years that men and women have different ways of practicing medicine. According to research, female doctors are more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and are more communicative than men. Until this study, the meaningful impact on patient’s well-being has remained unclear.
However, the introduction to the research notes there was still a bias against female doctors:
Despite evidence suggesting that female physicians may provide higher-quality care, some have argued that career interruptions for childrearing, higher rates of part-time employment, and greater tradeoffs between home and work responsibilities may compromise the quality of care provided by female physicians and justify higher salaries among male physicians.
According to The Washington Post, based on these findings, an estimated 32,000 lives could be saved each year, providing male doctors performed as successfully as females.
The University of Chicago’s associate professor of medicine, Vineet Arora, said this about the findings:
“It could be something the doctor is doing. It could be something about how the patient is reacting to the doctor,”
William Weeks, a professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, said researchers had done a good job of trying to control for other factors that might influence the outcome. He said the finding deserves further investigation, but in the short term, the study emphasises the idea that female doctors should be paid equally — particularly as there is now a push toward payment systems that reward the value of the care.