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« Physician Burnout in the Cosmetic Medicine Community | Main | Dr. Bertha Baum - Hollywood Dermatology, Florida »
Tuesday
Jan032017

Patients Do Better With Female Physicians?

Female doctors patients may have lower death and readmission rates. Does that have any relevance to your clinic?

JAMA Internal Medicine published a study about patients favoring women as their doctors. The study is centered on readmission and mortality rate among the elderly. The authors selected random data, in which a third of the physician sample were female. 

For the study, researchers examined hospital readmissions and mortality data for a random sample of traditional Medicare beneficiaries 65 or older who ended up in acute-care hospitals from Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2014. Those data consisted of slightly more than 1.5 million hospitalizations, in which patients were seen by 58,344 physicians. About a third of those physicians were women.

The researchers adjusted the data to account for different characteristics of hospitals and patients, as well as physician characteristics that were not based on sex, such as experience level. These types of adjustments ensure that the study's findings do not simply reflect a situation where male physicians are seeing sicker patients, for instance.

The female physicians tended to be younger––their average age was 42.8 years, compared with 47.8 for men. They also were more likely to have training in osteopathic medicine and to have treated fewer patients.

Findings:

  • Patients treated by women had mortality rates of 11.07%, compared with 11.49% for those seen by men.
  • Readmission rates were 15.02% among those seen by women, compared with 15.57% for male physicians.

Dr. Ashish Jha, co-author of the study, also can’t figure out the discrepancy, raising concern about how men could be thought of not being better practitioners. In addition, he suggests that issues like gender and pay gaps should be further discussed finding the latter unacceptable. 

In the case of cosmetic medicine, a study by Huis In ‘t Veld; Canales; and Furnas, with the latter two being plastic surgeons part of the research as well. The sample consisted of 200 patients, all of which were female. In addition, the study delved in which areas of concern that the patients want to undergo on.

Study findings:

  • Among the sample, 26% chose a female surgeon, and another 12.5% chose the female surgeon (Furnas) in the study
  • Area of concern for those who favored a female surgeon: breast, body, face, and genitalia
  • Generally speaking, gender did not matter so long as the surgeon had a reputation and experience

In another research, a study was published in 2015, modelled from an older study conducted to British patients. The sample consisted of 515 women, with only 500 accomplishing the provided questionnaire. Similar to the above research, gender also did not matter as knowledge and experience were the major factors for choosing surgeons as well. 

Study findings:

  • Among the sample, 190 patients preferred female surgeons.
  • More than half (59%) had no preference to which gender. 

This raises the question as to why patients choose female physicians, which could pose a gender gap issue in practicing physicians. For cosmetic medicine, a reason linked for female patients choosing female doctors is due to the intimate areas of the body. In addition, patients favored female doctors because of more comfort and lesser embarrassment. 

Studies cited:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5131538/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27913412
http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20161219/NEWS/161219912

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