Youth vs. experience: Who wins in medicine?

Harvard researchers who recently wrote an essay analyzed data from Medicare to draw conclusions about hospitalists and surgeons who treat hospital in-patients for non-elective admissions. The researchers grouped the physicians by age to determine which groups performed better. The yardstick by which they were measured was mortality within 30 days of admission. The sample size was significant—over 700,000 Medicare patients, all over 65 years of age. What they found were trends that favored younger internists (age 40 and younger compared to older internists aged 60 and above), while the trends were reversed for surgeons, with the older group performing better than the younger group. The sidebar quote in the article is important to note for the consideration of mortality statistics: “A doctor’s clinical judgment, decision-making, and technical skill could be the difference between life and death.” Agreed. Now, how do we interpret the findings?

Click here to read the full article