In a previous blog, Custom-Made Healthcare, I discussed a study that says women tend to be more critical of the healthcare system than men, with not enough communication being the No. 1 disappointment. Now there’s a new healthcare gender-related study out there and this one focuses on the men.
The BMJ (British Medical Journal) Group recently conducted a Massachusetts study that found that men were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital when 30 days of discharge than women. For women, 29 of every 100 were readmitted within 30 days while men experienced a readmission rate of 47 out of every 100 — nearly half of the study’s male population.
The study’s conclusion? “In our data, male subjects had a higher rate of hospital utilisation within 30 days of discharge than female subjects. For men — but not for women — risk factors were being retired, unmarried, having depressive symptoms and having no PCP [primary care physician] visit within 30 days. Interventions addressing these factors might lower hospital utilisation rates observed among men.”
And that is something healthcare organizations really want to do. We all know why, but let’s say it all together one more time. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ initiative Partnership for Patients seeks to reduce hospital readmissions by 20 percent in 2013 compared to 2010. And Medicare will begin paying reduced rates for what it deems as potentially avoidable readmissions of certain cases, such as pneumonia and heart disease.
So, one study says that women tend to seek more information regarding their care than men and another study says that women’s hospital readmission rates are also lower than men’s. However, the very opposite is true for men in both studies.
Is communication key? Will it lead to better patient adherence and successful transitions between care settings, thus reducing readmission rates?
A geneticist and oncologist Jennifer Kelly seems to think so, and I’m sure she’s not the only physician who does. Her KevinMD blog post, Essential patient communication tips for physicians, gives advice on how and why doctors should improve their communication skills.
“Patients who understand their doctors are more likely to acknowledge health problems, understand their treatment options, modify their behavior accordingly, and follow their medication schedules. In fact, research has shown that effective patient-physician communication can improve a patient’s health as quantifiably as many drugs—perhaps providing a partial explanation for the powerful placebo effect seen in clinical trials,” she writes.