PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study of hospital patients looked to answer whether women or men make better doctors.
The study found that patients treated by women physicians were less likely to die, or have to come back to the hospital, than those treated by men. The study was conducted by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Patients over 65, who were hospitalized with common ailments, were observed.
Dr. Ashish Jha, professor of health policy and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute told CBS News that Women physicians are more likely to practice evidence-based medicine and stick with clinical guidelines, and patients report that women doctors are more highly effective.” Jha wanted to see if these difference proved to impact results.
The study showed that patients treated by women has a four percent lower risk of dying and a five percent lower risk of having the be admitted to the hospital again within 30 days.
“Oh wow, really?” said Virna Mitchell of South Philadelphia.
“I believe it,” Jane Cannan replied.
Researchers reported seeing the same results when broken down by the severity of illnesses.
“I’m happy I am going to a woman,” said Cannan, relieved.
“Okay, what’s the basis of the study?” wondered Jim Wiggins of Center City. “I bet you males go to male doctors and females go to female doctors. And in general, females live longer and are readmitted less,” said Wiggins.
Researchers say they adjusted for several factors, including patient gender. So, why do women appear to have the edge?
“Maybe they’re more motherly in a way,” suggested Reid Fox of Philadelphia.
So, what if the numbers for male doctors were the same?
“We’d save about 32,000 lives just in the Medicare population, and that’s about how many people die in motor vehicle accidents every year,” Jha told CBS News.
“I hope they get paid as much as men,” said Cannan. Not so. In fact, one of the authors pointed out the ways in which women are still treated differently in the medical field. Not only are they generally paid less, female physicians are also less likely to be promoted.
CBS 3’s Nicole Brewer contributed to this report…