Male or female physician: Does it matter in death, hospital readmission rates?

December 19, 2016

Do hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries treated by female internists have lower rates of 30-day mortality and hospital readmission than those patients treated by men? A new study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that they do.

Previous research suggests men and women may practice medicine differently, with female physicians more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and provide preventive care more often, among other things. However, some have suggested that factors such as career interruptions for childbearing and high-rates of part-time employment, may justify higher salaries for male physicians, despite research suggesting female physicians may provide better care.

Empirical evidence is needed so Yusuke Tsugawa, M.D., M.P.H., PhD., of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, and coauthors examined 30-day mortality and readmission rates for hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries treated by male or female physicians.

The study analyzed more than 1.5 million patient hospitalizations for 30-day mortality rates and more than 1.5 million for hospital readmission rates from 2011 through 2014. During the study period, 58,344 internists treated at least one hospitalized Medicare beneficiary and, among those physicians, 18,751 were women (32.1 percent). Female physicians tended to be younger, were more likely to have had osteopathic training and treated fewer patients compared with their male counterparts.

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

The study cannot identify why female physicians appear to have better patient outcomes than male physicians.

"These 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. Understanding exactly why these differences in care quality and practice patterns exist may provide valuable insights into improving quality of care for all patients, irrespective of who provides their care," the article concludes.
(JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 19, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7875; available pre-embargo at the For The Media website.)

Editor's Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Hospital Readmission Articles from Brightsurf:

COPD program decreases 30-day hospital readmission, may increase mortality
The 30-day readmission rate for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has decreased but the mortality rate has increased.

Home health care after a heart attack may lower patients' hospital readmission rates
Almost 10% of US heart attack patients receive home health care after hospital discharge.

Study finds that Community Treatment Orders do not reduce hospital readmission rates or stays
CTOs are a legal order for compulsory community monitoring and treatment of people discharged from psychiatric hospitals and were introduced in the Mental Health Act amendment in 2007.

Research reveals best hospital-based methods for reducing readmission rates
Research led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has revealed the most effective hospital-based methods for reducing readmission rates.

Hospital readmission policy did not increase patients' mortality risk
The Obamacare program intended to reduce the risk of patients being readmitted after hospitalizations for heart attacks, heart failure, and pneumonia has not caused an increase in mortality risk for patients in emergency departments or observational units, according to a new report.

Study challenges concerns over hospital readmission reduction practices
A UT Southwestern study is challenging concerns that a federal health policy enacted in 2012 to reduce hospital readmissions leaves patients more vulnerable.

Study suggests new computer analytics may solve the hospital readmission puzzle
A University of Maryland School of Medicine study suggests that a novel machine learning model developed at the University of Maryland Medical System, called the Baltimore score (B score), may help hospitals better predict which discharged patients are likely to be readmitted.

Readmission penalties for safety net hospitals drop under new rules
Readmission penalties against hospitals providing care to socioeconomically disadvantaged patients have dropped 14 percentage points under new rules adopted in 2019 that more equitably account for low-income populations being served, according to a new analysis led by UT Southwestern Medical Center and Harvard researchers.

Low mobility predicts hospital readmission in older heart attack patients
Close to 20% of elderly adults who have suffered a heart attack will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.

Social risk factors and readmission penalties
New research shows that US safety net hospitals could benefit substantially from a new model that accounts for social risk factors like poverty and living in a disadvantaged neighborhood in determining how the federal government penalizes hospitals financially for their readmission rates.

Read More: Hospital Readmission News and Hospital Readmission Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to