Finally, some of the variations in how we care for our patients may be based on gender differences. The evidence suggests that female physicians are more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and evidence-based practice than their male counterparts.12 Whether patient outcomes differ between male and female physicians was recently confirmed in a study of mortality and readmission rates among Medicare inpatients.13 Elderly hospitalized patients treated by female internists had significantly lower mortality and readmission rates compared with those cared for by their male counterparts. Guys, it’s time to start playing by the rules!
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Based on a recent study, the treating physician’s age may affect patient mortality.14 The variations that affect medical practice are numerous and highly complex. It will take considerable effort to skew the onerous ones in a favorable direction.
Complexity trumps any simple solutions.
Simon M. Helfgott, MD, is associate professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
In the article, “Make Rheum for Trainees,” May 2017, Heather Ferri, DO, was mistakenly identified as an MD. We regret the error.
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- Roth GA, Dwyer-Lindgren L, Bertozzi-Villa A, et al. Inequalities in life expectancy among US counties, 1980 to 2014. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 May 8;317(19):1976–1992.
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- Tsugawa Y, Jha AK, Newhouse JP, et al. Variation in physician spending and association with patient outcomes. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 May 1;177(5):675–682.
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- Young A, Chaudhry HJ, Pei X, et al. A census of actively licensed physicians in the United States. J Med Regulation. 2015;101(2):8–23.
- Chen CC, Peterson S, Phillips R, et al. Spending patterns in region of residency training and subsequent expenditures for care provided by practicing physicians for Medicare beneficiaries. JAMA. 2014 Dec 10;312(22):2385–2393.
- Berthold HK, Gouni-Berthold I, Bestehorn KP, et al. Physician gender is associated with the quality of type 2 diabetes care. J Intern Med. 2008 Oct;264(4):340–350.
- Tsugawa Y, Jena AB, Figueroa JF, et al. Comparison of hospital mortality and readmission rates for Medicare patients treated by male vs. female physicians. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Feb 1;177(2):206–213.
- Tsugawa Y, Newhouse JP, Zazlavsky AM, et al. Physician age and outcomes in elderly patients in hospital in the US: Observational study. BMJ. 2017 May 16;357:j1797.