Is there truly a fundamental difference between the sexes, outside of simple matters of biology? A new study suggests that there be one when it comes to patient care – and women are the ones to come out on top.
The recent study from Harvard Medical School suggests that patients treated by female physicians were less likely to die after being released and had lower rates of re-admittance than patients treated by men.
The difference may be that women are more likely to follow guideline-based care, provide preventative medicine and think about the patient first, Dr. Comilla Sasson said.
“I do think that there is a difference between the way men and women physicians do communicate with patients and I think that probably does contribute to some degree what some of the better outcomes we're seeing in this specific study,” Sasson said.
What the study may ultimately show is that there are differences between who is taking care of you, she said.
Dr. Noah Kaufman, meanwhile, said the study isn’t without its flaws and shouldn’t be taken at face value.
For starters, it only examined doctors that treat patients who have been admitted to a hospital, one of many types of doctors, he said. It’s also an observational study, which makes it difficult to determine the cause behind what is being observed.
“We have to take it with a grain of salt and it just does bring up a lot of new questions that we need to ask,” Kaufman said.
Still, it’s a good reason for male physicians to reflect on what they’re doing and how to bring themselves up to standard, he said. It was estimated that if male physicians could do that, then 32,000 people who would have otherwise died could be saved.
“As long as we try and improve ourselves as physicians, there's going to be good physicians that are male and good physicians that are female,” he said.