Are men or women better doctors? Harvard study may have the answer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — If you’ve ever wondered whether gender plays a role in the quality of your healthcare, a study out of Harvard claims to have found the answer. And in this battle of the sexes, it’s the ladies who come out on top!

The study found that those who receive care at a hospital from a doctor who’s a woman are less likely to die. They’re also less likely to be hospitalized again than if they were seen by a male doctor instead.

Here’s the skinny:

The study, published by JAMA Internal Medicine, evaluated nearly 1.6 million elderly Medicare holders hospitalized from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014. It determined that patients treated by female doctors had significantly lower rates of death and significantly lower rates of readmission to the hospital than patients who were treated by male doctors at the same hospital.

Before completing the study, researchers pointed to evidence that showed women tend to provide higher quality care, communicate better with patients, and perform as well or better on standardized exams than their male peers. But some experts suggest that because many women take off significant periods of time after child birth, and thus may only work part-time to help raise their kids, the quality and consistency of their care could be at risk.

These studies explain why researchers sought to do this study — and though the findings prove the experts wrong, the research fails to show why patients fared better under the care of female doctors, as Cosmopolitan points out.

Nonetheless, researchers conclude their research with a stunning estimation: if male doctors could perform at the same level as female doctors, an esteemed 32,000 lives per year would be saved. What’s more, they agree that number would be much larger if the same standard applied to non-Medicare doctors.