How do you choose a doctor? Some people want a doctor who has years of practice under their belt. Some choose a medical professional based on word of mouth. If you make your choice based on gender, you could be doing yourself a great favor or, if studies are to be believed, a disservice. According to a new study released by Harvard researchers, elderly patients cared for by female doctors tend to have better outcomes. In fact, the study claims that it may even be a matter of life or death.
This is not the first time that female doctors have proven more effective than their male counterparts. In past studies, it has been shown that female doctors may be more likely to follow recommendations set forth regarding preventative care, including counseling and lab tests. The newest study estimates that 32,000 fewer patients would die if the male doctors they chose were able to achieve the same outcome as female doctors.
Ashish Jha, one of the study’s co-authors, said, “Women physicians are more likely to do evidence-based medicine, and follow clinical guidelines. They are more likely to communicate in a way patients report is more effective.” Jha went on to say, with regards to the pay received by female physicians, “The people who seem to provide somewhat better care are the ones who are getting paid less. I think that makes very little sense.”