Examining Gender Diversity in General Cardiology and Its Impact on Readmissions

According to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology 71st Annual Scientific Session & Expo by primary investigator Anna Scandinaro and colleagues, “13% of practicing adult cardiologists and 23% of current general cardiology fellows in the United States are women.” The investigators sought to define the contribution of female cardiologists to quality metrics in the US healthcare system, such as readmissions.

Based on their findings, the study’s collaborators concluded that “at a county level, a higher proportion of female general cardiologists correlates with reduced rates of hospital readmissions for [heart failure (HF)], [myocardial infarction (MI)], and [coronary artery bypass (CABG)].”

The study used compiled Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) registry data on billing providers and hospital readmission rates for HF, MI, and CABG. The authors calculated the ratio of hospital readmissions to discharges, with the factor of interest being the proportion of female general cardiologists in the associated county.

Scandinaro and colleagues reported that counties with a higher proportion of female general cardiologists had reduced combined readmission rates for the three indications. They added that this correlation was maintained in separate analyses of each indication’s individual readmissions. Finally, the authors noted that the model overall “explained minimal variability in readmission rates across hospitals (Multiple R2 = 0.0121).”

Ultimately, the investigators advanced that “further research is needed to understand the impact of female cardiologist representation on patient outcomes.”