Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Improved Surgical Outcomes When Women Are Part of Your Team

Study Finds Gender Diversity in Surgical Teams Could Improve Patient Outcomes

Female Surgeons and Anesthesiologists May Improve Surgery Outcomes

New research out of Canada suggests that having a greater representation of female surgeons and anesthesiologists in the operating room could lead to better outcomes for patients undergoing surgery. The study, published in the British Journal of Surgery, found that hospitals with 35% or more female surgeons and anesthesiologists on staff tended to produce better outcomes for patients.

Lead author Dr. Julie Hallet, a surgeon and associate scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, emphasized the importance of having a critical mass of female healthcare professionals in operative teams. According to the study, hospitals in the Canadian province of Ontario have a low percentage of surgeries performed by women, with only 6.7% conducted by female surgeons.

The study tracked the outcomes of almost 710,000 surgeries for adult patients over a 10-year period and found that hospitals with higher female representation had a 3% reduction in the odds of postoperative major morbidity among patients. This suggests that gender diversity in the operating room could lead to improved patient outcomes.

Dr. Hallet believes that ensuring sex diversity in operative teams will require intentional efforts, such as systematic recruitment and retention policies for female physicians, structural interventions, and monitoring and reporting of team composition. The findings from this study could pave the way for changes in the traditionally male-dominated field of surgery.

As more research highlights the benefits of gender diversity in healthcare settings, it becomes increasingly clear that a more balanced representation of healthcare professionals in the operating room could lead to better outcomes for patients.

Source: Oxford University Press, news release, May 15, 2024.

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