Health Care

Age of physician may increase patient mortality risk

Age of physician may increase patient mortality risk

Ultimately, the study found that the 30-day mortality rate was 10.8% for seniors treated by doctors under the age of 40 years old. The share of physicians aged 55 or over is within the range of 40-46 percent in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Latvia, Estonia and France, peaking at 52 percent in Italy. He reiterated the fact that older doctors who treated high volumes of patients didn't have a higher patient mortality rates.

That said, the authors of the new study described the findings as both "exploratory" and "observational".

"The results of our study suggest the critical importance of continuing medical education throughout a doctor's entire career, regardless of age and experience". "We found those treated by younger doctors had significantly lower mortality compared with those treated by older doctors", study author Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa told CBS News.

Ultimately, the researchers found that doctor age had no impact on the risk that a patient would be readmitted after discharge.

Researchers surveyed over 700,000 American hospital patients who received Medicare between 2011 and 2014 and nearly 19,000 doctors were involved in the study.

The stats are adjusted for a variety of variables, such as hospital mortality rates and severity of patients' illnesses.

And a British newspaper, The Independent, reported that the data point to one more death per 77 patients between a 40-year-old doctor and a 60-year-old one.

"It surprised me because a lot of people think clinical experience might lead to better outcomes, like quality of care". Conversely, age made no difference in mortality outcomes for doctors who managed large numbers of patients.

But on the other hand, Tsugawa cautioned that doctors' "skills and knowledge can also become outdated, as scientific technology and clinical guidelines change over time".

The nice thing about focusing on hospitalists is that patients in this setting don't choose their doctors and doctors don't choose their patients. That's according to a study published Tuesday in the journal BMJ.

In a linked editorial, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania ask what are the options for ensuring that quality and safety of care is optimized for patients. What's more, she added, "all hospitals are not the same". "Therefore, they may be more up-to-date when they start providing care".

"Hospitals recognized for excellence in nursing, known as Magnet hospitals, can be found at www.nursecredentialing.org", Aiken said.

Tsugawa does warn that while there is a common perception that older doctors are more experienced and thus better, the reality is that constantly evolving medical techniques mean younger doctors are often better informed about treatment options.

News stories are written and provided by HealthDay and do not reflect federal policy, the views of MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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