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Research from UCLA suggests that the gender of a doctor impacts patient health outcomes. According to the study, patients treated by female physicians experience lower mortality rates and fewer hospital readmissions compared to those treated by male doctors. Female patients particularly benefit from this phenomenon.

Mortality rate for female physicians is lower compared to males

The study featured in Annals of Internal Medicine examined Medicare claims data from 2016 to 2019 involving over 700,000 patients. It revealed that female patients had a mortality rate of 8.15% under female physicians, compared to 8.38% under male physicians, indicating a clinically significant difference.

Male patients exhibited slightly improved outcomes when treated by female doctors compared to male doctors, with a slight decrease in mortality rate to 10.15 percent from 10.23 percent. Similarly, they showed lower hospital readmission rates when initially seen by female physicians. Researchers suggest various reasons for these trends.

Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa, the senior author of the study and an associate professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, the research suggests that there are significant disparities in medical practice between female and male physicians, with implications for patient health outcomes.

Male doctors may underestimate the severity of illness in female patients, possibly leading to delayed diagnoses or incomplete treatment. Research suggests male physicians tend to downplay women’s pain levels, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular symptoms, and stroke risk.

Female doctors excel in communication with patients

On the other hand, female doctors may excel in communication with female patients, fostering open and trusting relationships that encourage sharing of crucial health information, resulting in better diagnoses and treatment plans. Female patients may feel more comfortable with female physicians, particularly during sensitive examinations or detailed health discussions.

Research indicates female patients may benefit more from female doctors, prompting a need for further investigation. Dr. Tsugawa emphasizes understanding gender differences in medical practice for improved patient care. Addressing pay disparities, he suggests eliminating the gender pay gap to uphold equity in the medical profession and enhance patient outcomes universally.

Dr. Tsugawa highlights the significance of female physicians in delivering top-notch care, asserting that their presence yields societal advantages.