The study, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, aimed to see if health outcomes vary, if at all, among patients treated by women and men. Researchers analyzed results from Medicare patients treated by 58,344 physicians between 2011 and 2014. And the results showed patients treated by women had both a lesser risk of premature death (10.82% to men’s 11.49% overall) and hospital readmissions within 30 days (15.01% to men’s 15.57%).
The researchers estimated that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die “if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year,” they wrote, based on Medicare hospitalizations. The report said that number would presumably be larger if the trend holds for non-Medicare patients.
While researchers sought to determine whether the differences in death and readmission rates could be based on male and female doctors having different types of patients or working in different areas, nothing the researchers controlled for could explain the disparity, the Wall Street Journal reports.