A new study reveals that 32,000 less patients would die per year if treated by female physicians compared to male physicians. The study, which linked 4 years of Medicare data for 1.5 million patients aged 65 and older to professional and demographic physician data from the online professional network Doximity, shows a significant decrease in patient readmissions and patient deaths after 30 days for those treated by female internists.
“We know from prior work that female physicians earn about 80 cents on the dollar compared to male physicians, but whether outcomes of patients treated by female physicians differ has never been studied,” study co-author Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD, the Ruth L. Newhouse Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jena has used Doximity’s data to study how physician characteristics influence patient outcomes and gender differences in promotion in academic medicine.
These new findings show that patients treated by female physicians experienced almost a half a percentage point decrease in mortality rate within a month of hospitalization, as well as a comparable drop in the chance that patient would return to the hospital. While these gains could be considered unsubstantial, these figures are akin to successful improvements in large scale national quality movements that have occurred over the last decade.
The authors acknowledge that a limitation of the study’s results is that they were unable to identify “why” these observed differences between male and female physicians occurred, and therefore could not link gender directly to certain outcomes. Rather, the hope moving forward is that additional investigation can uncover more specifically which care patterns account for these improved outcomes and how to best apply the learnings for the betterment of all patients.
Leading up to your first job-search, you may be curious about how much physicians in your specialty make, what to look for in an offer, and how stay on top of your finances - not to mention other big life decisions. We’re here to help!
Every week, we curate the latest in career and lifestyle news to help you transition from full-time resident to full-time physician. Check out what articles have been trending this year with other residents.
If you liked these articles visit your Doximity profile and update your 'Specialty' to “Resident” to opt in to our resident-only news digest. And if there are other newsworthy career topics you think we should cover, let us know at email@example.com.
Today, we launched Doximity Dialer, a free app that makes it easier for physicians to call their patients. Through the app, clinicians can call patients on their personal cell phone, while displaying the number of their office, hospital, or any other number of their choice in the Caller ID.
“Our idea [for Doximity Dialer] is simple,” says Kanav Jain, Product Manager, Growth and Mobile Apps, ”easier communication leads to more communication, and greater communication leads to better health outcomes. We learned there are many reasons physicians, NPs, and PAs are hesitant about making calls using their cell phone and we wanted to help remove some of those barriers.”
We analyzed the current data from Doximity Dialer to provide you with information on how physicians are using the new app. The following statistics are from a sample of clinicians that are currently using Doximity Dialer.
“Very useful to call patients on the go. Option to pick multiple numbers like your clinic number, lab number, etc. which gives patients opportunity for a callback to the appropriate site if needed” - Hussein Bitar, MD
Using Doximity Dialer, clinicians can choose from multiple callback numbers which appear as the Caller ID when calling a patient. Many physicians work from a variety of locations, and hence, need to call different patients from a variety of numbers. From our sample, we found that 16% of clinicians currently using Doximity Dialer have more than one callback number.
“This app was easy to install and set up, and works great! Highly recommend if you make patient calls frequently.” - Irk93101
When you download Doximity Dialer, you setup your clinic or office number to appear in the caller ID (10 digit US numbers only). You can make calls to any US number a patient might use including landlines and cell phones.
*If you have previously asked your mobile carrier to permanently block your Caller ID, you will need to unblock it in order for Doximity Dialer to work.
“Easy set up & works like a charm. Many patients wouldn't answer *67 calls, but now respond with, "What are you doing in the office on a Saturday at 6:00 PM?" - gapac34
Doctors are less likely to place calls to patients outside of the office, and if they do, patients are unlikely to answer calls from an unfamiliar number or if the caller ID displays “Unknown.”
“Used it twice today...works well!” - Howard Luks, MD
We found that physicians using Dialer make an average of 3 unique calls through the app each day, with some making up to 30 calls on busy days.
Doximity Dialer also allows you to keep track of who you are calling, and when you’ve called them, through the “Recent Calls” button.
“Works as advertised, whether calling mobile or land lines. I tested with several cell phones and our office line showed up as expected. Very helpful product, especially for after hours calls to patients and their family.” - drrjv
In our sampling we found that over half (53%) of all calls through Dialer are placed between the hours of 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM. Despite these hours being outside of the typical 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, physicians are still in need of communication with patients after the office closes. Healthcare never sleeps!
Our mission is, and will always be, to serve clinicians. Here are some of the everyday ways clinicians use Doximity:
Finding another physician when time really matters
“I was moonlighting at another hospital and responded to a code-blue. After initial resuscitation, I needed an urgent gastroenterology consultation. I quickly went to Doximity, searched for a gastroenterologist in the area and was able to contact the on-call physician for his group for the urgent consultation. It was much quicker and more efficient than a Google search!”- Faisal Anwar, MD
Communicating securely and simply
“Yesterday, I discussed the results of a patient’s CAT scan with a radiologist via his backline, then updated the patient’s nephrologist via text and received a cardiac clearance from the patient’s cardiologist via fax. All in 10 minutes.” - Andrew Tompkins, MD
Staying abreast of all the relevant clinical news
“I had patients worried about symptoms of menopause lasting multiple years, afraid they might have cancer or a psychological disorder. Fortunately, I was browsing Doximity DocNews one morning and there was an article on the topic that I was able to share with my patients and calm their fears.” - Victor Liou, MD
Managing their career and understanding the market
“I needed regional and national salary information to inform stakeholders during salary negotiations, and the data provided on Doximity made the conversation extremely straightforward.” - Athanasios Tsiatis, MD
Thank you to our members for the innovative ideas and continued inspiration. It's a privilege to serve you.
Choose one word that best describes your work style
Multitasker. Obviously, I focus on the task at hand at any given moment. But overall in life, I need to be working on multiple things. If I’m not, I’m actually less efficient.
Favorite apps & software?
Recently, I’ve really taken to Twitter to be able to search for relevant news. Everyone’s rushing to discuss the latest news on it, and I enjoy hearing personal accounts and opinions before they’ve been shaped by the press, especially from people who may have different opinions from me. The fact that it’s financially in trouble is stressful to me!
What's your top time-saving tip at work?
Deal with things as they come. As a radiologist, I’m interrupted often. I find that if I don’t address an issue right away or dictate a report while a study is fresh in my mind, I duplicate a lot of work.
How does Doximity help you in your work as a clinician?
I love seeing curated articles across the various fields. It keeps me updated, and knowing what’s important and relevant to referring clinicians is essential to being a good radiologist.
You're currently a practicing radiologist at the VA, but previously spent time in academics. What was that transition like for you, and do you have any advice for those also looking to change their practice setting?
To be honest, the decision to leave academics was made for me - my husband (a plastic and reconstructive surgeon) had a great job opportunity in a city where there wasn’t a university hospital. After having two young children, we felt like the next job search had to revolve around what was best for our family (for both of us, not just me). In academics, it had been difficult for me to achieve a solid work life balance, and after the kids went to sleep, I found myself back at work, preparing lectures, responding to emails, and working on my research. I needed a step back from that to refocus on my other interests, although I’ll admit that I do miss academics, particularly teaching. Often now, I see a great case, and my instinct is to want to grab the trainees to share it. Fortunately, I have a great group of colleagues with whom to share cases, and we do so often. As far as the advice, I entertained job offers across the spectrum of radiology - from busy private practice settings to teleradiology. Ultimately, I wasn’t ready to give up face to face contact with patients and colleagues, but also wasn’t sure that having two full time private practice physician parents with frequent call and unpredictable schedules was best for my children. I asked for part time options, but the reality in, (at least our) local radiology job market, is that groups need people to share the call burden. The VA job came along at the last minute, giving me an opportunity to have a predictable lifestyle, see great cases, serve a wonderful patient population, and work with an intelligent, caring group of people, all without worrying about the evolving financial landscape of private practice. I jumped on it, and couldn’t be happier. Long story short, my advice is to prioritize what it is that you need out of a job, don’t assume that the best job is the one that’s most lucrative or the most academically prestigious, and reassess frequently if the job you have is right for you, as this may change as your life changes. Having a job that aligns with your professional interests while allowing you to live the life you want outside of medicine is priceless.
What is the biggest challenge for radiologists today?
I could go on forever about this, but I think it fundamentally comes down to providing value added radiology. Across the board, imaging volume is going up and reimbursement is going down, and radiologists are under increasing pressure to meet turnaround times and churn out more studies. Combined with the fact that the newer generation of physicians is more accustomed to looking at their own imaging and now have the technological capability to do so, there is a lot less interaction with the radiologist than there used to be. While this may seem like it’s more convenient for everyone involved, it detracts from the value a radiologist can add, often to the detriment of the patient. A face to face (or even phone) conversation will almost always be more informative, allowing the radiologist to understand the clinical scenario better and to specifically address the question at hand, as well as aiding the referring clinician in understanding the probability of each diagnosis listed in a differential and the appropriate next imaging steps, if any. It’s also important that the patients know the role of the radiologist in their care. I’m surprised how often non-clinical people don’t realize I’m a physician when I say I’m a radiologist. If we as a field don’t do more to promote our essential role in the system, we open up doors for technology or other specialties to take over our roles.
Who is someone you admire? Why?
Another question I could go on forever about! The current focus of my admiration is actually my 5-year-old son, who’s just started kindergarten and has developed a fascination with space. As he spits out factoids about astronomic units, dwarf planets, and the potential new ninth planet, I’m constantly in awe of how he uses basic building blocks of knowledge to extrapolate new theories and understand the world around him - often with connections that I myself don’t make! It’s a constant testament to the power of curiosity and the human brain.
Take us through an average day for you as a radiologist.
I surf the internet, work on mastering yoga poses, and usually leave work after lunch. NO! There’s this perception out there that radiologists have it easy. In reality, I read a ton of cases, do procedures ranging from joint injections to biopsies, and spend a lot of time on the phone with clinicians guiding imaging choices and discussing management. It’s a rare day that I eat lunch, or that I go more than 7 minutes without the phone ringing (yes, I’ve timed it).
How do you decompress?
Lately, I write. It’s great to process my thoughts on paper, and I’ve been writing about everything from medicine to my 2-year-old son’s pronunciation of the word ‘water.’ Even if most of it never gets published, it allows me to get things out of my system and put things in perspective — and by extension, usually reduces stress. Unless I’m writing about politics and health policy.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished The Rosie Project, a book club selection from a group of physician mothers that I’m in. Great read - flows smoothly and offers a unique insight into the world of Asperger’s. I read it in one sitting, and am excited to read book 2 in the series!
Do you have a favorite song?
I tend to listen to my favorite song of the moment on repeat until I can’t stand it anymore. It’s bad because consequently, few songs stick with me long term. Some that have though include Edwin McCain’s "I could not ask for more," the first dance song at my wedding, Toto’s "Africa," and a handful of Indian songs I grew up hearing.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. We are so groomed as physicians to project a certain persona, and to some extent, that’s essential to the job. But allowing yourself to laugh at your failures, take joy in the little or frivolous things, and keep things in perspective is key in this era of physician burnout.