Do no harm

Study finds elderly patients do better under the care of women doctors

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A team of Harvard University researchers has discovered that elderly patients being treated by female physicians fare better than they do under the care of male doctors. The study found that older patients who were treated by women doctors were less likely to die or be readmitted to the hospital within a month of treatment. Medicare patients had a four percent lower relative risk of dying prematurely and a five percent lower risk of being readmitted to a hospital within 30 days, according to the results of the study, which analyzed data gathered between 2011 and 2014.

The finding has far-reaching implications not only for the gender pay gap, but for health care at large. Female doctors earn about eight percent less than their male counterparts, according to a recent report. That works out to an average of $20,000 per year less than male doctors in earnings. Dr. Ashish Jha, the study’s lead author said that the gender pay gap in the medical field “is particularly unconscionable given the performance of women in terms of providing high quality care. In broader terms, the study seems to suggest that more female doctors across the field would lead to better medical care for patients. The study didn’t conclude what was the cause of this phenomenon, but previous studies have found that female doctors often have a better bedside manner with patients, and on average take more time with patients.

Read the full story at Stat.

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