Physician Age Linked to Clinically Significant Patient Mortality Risk


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The difference in mortality rates translates into one additional patient death for every 77 patients treated by physicians 60 and older, compared with those treated by doctors 40 and younger.

Patients treated by older hospitalists are somewhat more likely to die within a month of admission than patients treated by younger physicians, suggests research published this week in the BJM.

Researchers at Harvard note that the difference in mortality rates was modest yet clinically significant—10.8% among patients treated by physicians 40 and younger, compared with 12.1% among those treated by physicians 60 and older.

That translates into one additional patient death for every 77 patients treated by physicians 60 and older, compared with those treated by doctors 40 and younger.

Study lead author Anupam B. Jena, MD, a hospitalist, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, spoke with HealthLeaders about the findings. The following is a lightly edited transcript.

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