Lion of the Blogosphere

Women better doctors than men. Fake research?

This scholarly research found a statistically significant difference in outcomes of hospitalized medicare patients depending on whether they were treated by a male or female physician.

The study then assumes that his must be because the women are better doctors than the men!

I think it’s more likely that patients were not randomly assigned to doctors, but rather when a patient seemed to be in very bad shape, that patient was more likely to be assigned to a male doctor who was viewed by the hospital staff as more competent than female doctors. (I’m not saying that the male doctors ARE more competent, but that gender bias, which is well documented by SJW-types, causes hospital staff to think so and that influences assignments.) Or perhaps the male doctors were more likely to self-assign themselves to the worst-off patients because they liked to challenge themselves.

Without an investigation into whether doctor assignments were random, this “research” is meaningless and bogus.

As a caveat, the study does talk about randomness of assignment, but they reach the easy conclusion that they are smart enough to determine that assignments are random merely based on the statistical dataset they were working with.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 19, 2016 at 2:20 pm

28 Responses

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  1. Many of the most impressive people I have met, both personally and professionally, are female physicians.

    B.T.D.T.

    December 19, 2016 at 2:29 pm

  2. Did not read study. But based on your comments, wouldn’t they need to not only randomly assign but also generally have the same medical condition? Otherwise there are too many confounding variables.

    Asf

    December 19, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    • The study is clearly feminist agitprop.

      jjbees

      December 19, 2016 at 4:14 pm

  3. Assuming for argument’s sake the research is correct, the average female doctor is likely much younger than the average male doctor, so she might have better training in the latest medical practices and techniques.

    Mark Caplan

    December 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    • That’s a possibility too.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 19, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    • Agree here. And a disgruntled female doctor is likelier to quit much earlier as she has a socially acceptable exit path via children. Just look at da numbers, da womenz attrition rate is much higher >_< Da dudez just become jaded assholes who have no other option but to suck it up.

      purpletigerbot

      December 19, 2016 at 4:41 pm

  4. I would guess that women doctors are slightly better than men. Not in terms of basic knowledge or competence, but in terms of putting the patient first. There’s more social pressure on men to have high incomes and with male doctors, I think this affects their treatment advice on average.

    My impression just based on general observations is that male doctors are slightly better in terms of knowledge and experience; female doctors are slightly better in terms of putting the patient first.

    fortaleza84

    December 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    • For most practical purposes – checkups and simple, treatable ailments – there is no difference. You will see the doctor for 15 minutes, the doctor gives you a prescription, the end.

      I don’t even know what “putting the patient first” means. If the doctor fixes my ailment then he put me first, and I don’t care if he had a cold mannerism while doing it.

      Tarl

      December 20, 2016 at 8:39 am

      • “For most practical purposes – checkups and simple, treatable ailments – there is no difference.”

        I pretty much agree with this.

        “I don’t even know what ‘putting the patient first’ means. If the doctor fixes my ailment then he put me first, and I don’t care if he had a cold mannerism while doing it.”

        Here’s an example: Suppose the doctor decides you need some procedure or test. And that you are slightly better off getting it right away but the doctor’s schedule is such that it’s more convenient for him to have you wait a couple months. I think female doctor would be a bit more likely to juggle things so that you can have things taken care of sooner rather than later.

        fortaleza84

        December 20, 2016 at 11:56 am

  5. I read something a few weeks ago that made a lot of sense in relation to healthcare costs. It costs a small fortune to become a doctor. In the US the number of available seats at reputable medical schools has been relatively the same for the past 20 years. In other words, the supply of seats hasn’t grown much. The AMA is to blame for this, they’ve systematically capped supply. What has grown is the number/ratio of women going to medical school and taking those seats. Then many of these women practice for 8ish years, then leave the workforce to raise children (because they can, many of them marry high income earners). So we spend a fortune sending women into the medical workforce and then they leave 1/4 of the way through their productive years.

    bad medicine

    December 19, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    • “In the US the number of available seats at reputable medical schools has been relatively the same for the past 20 years.” In fact, total US medical school enrollment has increased from 74,299 in 2007-2008 to 88,304 in 2016-2017, an almost 19% increase in ten years.

      There are currently 141 MD-granting schools and 31 DO-granting schools in the US, with 34 more under development. Of the currently operating MD and DO schools, 43 have opened in the 21st century. Medical school accreditation is controlled by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and by the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. Physicians are licensed by the individual states. Members of state medical boards are usually appointed by the governor. The AMA has nothing to do with any of this; if it did and was trying to restrict the supply of doctors (which it didn’t), it would not have done a very good job. All of this information is readily available on the Internet.

      I was not impressed by the study. Randomization was apparently not used, and the difference in outcomes, though statistically valid, was less then 1% by both parameters. Lots of possibly confounding variables – the study only addressed general internists, female physicians are younger, sicker patients may have preferred or been assigned to more senior male physicians. Maybe some other things.

      Black Death

      December 19, 2016 at 10:29 pm

  6. They’re making a stink over less than half a percentage point difference?

    peterike

    December 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    • Half a percentage point could easily be noise. But it’s the way they treat that half a percentage point that’s interesting. If it favors women doctors they claim women make better doctors. But if it had favored men they would have claimed discrimination and agitated for more programs and funding to benefit women.

      destructure

      December 19, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    • This.

      Jokah Macpherson

      December 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm

  7. Women are not better doctors.

    They work much fewer hours (thus having fewer patient interactions, and not knowing as much medicine), get lower test scores, and in my experience lack the natural curiosity needed to answer hard questions. Ergo it is most likely not possible for them to be better doctors.

    Medicine is a naturally male profession, similar to law, whose door has been forced open by equalitarian bureaucrats who just don’t get it.

    jjbees

    December 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    • I will patiently await for this study to be picked apart, and then retracted.

      jjbees

      December 19, 2016 at 3:59 pm

  8. Male doctors are more highly concentrated in specialties where they would see and treat higher risk patients as opposed to female gynecologists, GPs, and internal medicine docs.

    NYC MUGGER

    December 19, 2016 at 3:57 pm

  9. Lion, there are all kinds of factors in play here. I don’t want to give out potentially identifying information, but I have closely observed a large hospitalist practice in an academic medical center for over 10 years. Male hospitalists in this group are significantly more like to be lazy/malingerers and/or have poor attention to detail than females in the group. It may be that this observation is relevant beyond just this hospitalist group and it has mortality implications.

    Now, why might this be? I speculate that it is driven by compensation. Men tend to weigh compensation more heavily in career decisions, including medical specialization. Women tend to weigh lifestyle more heavily. The most intelligent and ambitious male doctors likely choose to specialize and earn compensation 2x to 3x what they can earn as a hospitalist. Smart, dedicated female doctors may be choosing to be hospitalists despite the relatively low pay because it does not require the additional years of training and frequently offers more time at home with family. For example, many private groups work one week on, one week off. In other words, a doctor can work full time and still be home 26 weeks per year with their family. Academic hospitalist groups generaly make it very easy to work part-time which is very attractive to female physicians.

    Bitter Clinger

    December 19, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    • ^^^^^^ this ^^^^
      Did not read the study, but agree with above. Women hospitalists are in it for the lifestyle, and happen to be compulsive, obsessive types. Male hospitalists are less satisfied with that line of work, and field a lot of losers. I hate to state that last sentence, but it’s true.

      jz

      December 19, 2016 at 8:56 pm

  10. Strange, because most people in for a hospital stay probably had some sort of surgery, and surgeons are overwhelmingly men. My Mom has had three major surgeries after age 85; each one turned out perfectly, each was performed by a man (one white, two Asian). I have a great internist, an east Asian woman.

    Explainer 21

    December 19, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    • surgeons are not hospitalists.

      jz

      December 19, 2016 at 8:57 pm

  11. Usually high quality studies require payment to read. This one is free… Hmmm. Seems like Agitprop, it’s usually free with intentions of passing around. Let’s see if this one does the rounds in the media. If it does, well…

    Jeff Spicoli

    December 19, 2016 at 4:30 pm

  12. I’m skeptical. Due to the very small difference. It could well be noise or some factor they failed to account for. After all, it would be much harder to identify a small factor that causes a small difference than a large factor that causes a large one.

    Regardless, assuming the difference is legit, I would put it down to self-selection bias. There are fewer women going into medicine because women have to give up a lot more to be doctors than men do. So, even if they were equally qualified in terms of ability one would expect the women to be more dedicated.

    destructure

    December 19, 2016 at 4:36 pm

  13. Will there ever be a study that concludes that men are better at something?

    Camlost

    December 19, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    • Yes but only if they are minority men.

      Tarl

      December 20, 2016 at 8:41 am

  14. I think it’s more likely that patients were not randomly assigned to doctors, but rather when a patient seemed to be in very bad shape, that patient was more likely to be assigned to a male doctor who was viewed by the hospital staff as more competent than female doctors.

    I literally had a nearly-verbatim scenario in a question on the ‘verbal reasoning’ section when I wrote the MCAT. The question was along the lines of ‘how could it be true that so-and-so is the best doctor in the hospital but has the highest death rate?’

    Samson J.

    December 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm

  15. Without an investigation into whether doctor assignments were random, this “research” is meaningless and bogus.

    As a caveat, the study does talk about randomness of assignment, but they reach the easy conclusion that they are smart enough to determine that assignments are random merely based on the statistical dataset they were working with.

    They always do. That’s a key problem with type of research in general.

    JayMan

    December 20, 2016 at 9:19 am


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