HealthDay News — Patients of Canadian female physicians have lower mortality than those of male physicians when adjusting for hospital and patient characteristics, according to a study published online July 16 in JAMA Health Forum.

Anjali Sergeant, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues assessed whether mortality, other hospital outcomes, and processes of care differed between the patients cared for by female and male physicians. The analysis included 171,625 patients admitted to general medical wards at seven hospitals in Ontario (April 1, 2010, to Oct. 31, 2017) and cared for by 172 attending physicians.

The researchers found that in fully adjusted models, female physicians ordered more imaging tests, including computed tomography (adjusted difference, −1.70 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, −2.78 to −0.61 percent; P = 0.002), magnetic resonance imaging (−0.88 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, −1.37 to −0.38 percent; P = 0.001), and ultrasonography (−1.90 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, −3.21 to −0.59 percent; P = 0.005). In-hospital mortality was lower for patients treated by female physicians (4.8 versus 5.2 percent) and this difference persisted after adjusting for patient characteristics but did not retain statistical significance when adjusting for other physician characteristics (adjusted difference, 0.29 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, −0.08 to 0.65 percent; P = 0.12).


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“Future research should seek to validate these findings and explore additional processes of care and behaviors of physicians that may explain differences in patient mortality associated with physician gender,” the authors write.

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