Finding a physician could be a matter of life and death. Literally, the age of the one who manages your healthcare could increase the risk of you dying. Is it time for you to find a younger doctor? 

Finding A Younger Doctor – Does Age Matter?

A recent study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found that the age of the doctor who takes care of health issues matters. The older a physician is, the higher the odds are that a person will die. The study looked at 736,537 hospital admissions managed by 18,854 different physicians between 2011-2014. The study looked at physician age and mortality within thirty days.

BMG Physician Age Study Results

  • 10.8 percent died when they were treated by a physician under the age of 40
  • 11.1 percent for physicians age 40-49
  • 11.3 percent for physicians age 50-59
  • 12.1 for physicians aged 60 and up

However: older physicians that saw high volumes of patients did not see an increased mortality in their patients. Could this possibly mean that older physicians not seeing as many patients lose touch of their skills?

I Made The Switch To A Younger Doctor

A few years ago I had a primary care physician where I just felt that something was off about his care. This could have been completely imaginary but I made the switch to a younger physician about thirty years younger in age. I couldn’t be happier. The impression that I get is that she’s so much more up to date on current medical practice and theory. The older physician I was seeing made me feel like his practice was outdated.

Questions To Ask About This Study

  1. Are these results even statistically significant? Do a couple of percentage points even matter in the long run?
  2. If more people die as physicians age, does taking on less patients cause physicians to lose their skills?
  3. Are older physicians out of touch with current research?

As with my profession of nursing, it’s important to keep up skills as a career progresses. There already is a mindset that older physicians aren’t up to date with current standards and directing appropriate treatment. Does this study add more to that mindset? Have you ever made a switch from a older to younger physician and felt much better off?

 

Sources:

1. Blumenthal, D. et. al. “Physician Age and Outcomes In Elderly Patients In Hospital In The US: Observational Study.” BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. 16 May 2017. Web. 19 May 2017.