US Versus Foreign Trained Docs: Who Saves More Lives?

By  |  February 2, 2017 | 

Yeah, I know the headline drew you in.  I sleuthed ya—but I have a reason.

A study out in BMJ today, and its timing is uncanny given the immigration ban we are now experiencing.

First, to declare my priors. I will take an IMG to work by my side any day of the week.  You need to be twice as smart, motivated, and industrious to make your way to American shores.

The paper:

 

The researchers analyzed data on 1.2 million hospital admissions of Medicare patients aged 65 and over between 2011 and 2014 and for 44,227 internists. The average age of patients was 80, and the most common causes of death were sepsis, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The difference in results was slight, but I post the tables if only to show, at least based on this sample set, at worst, IMGs are equal to, and best, slightly better performers than US grads on standard metrics.

The adjusted mortality and readmit rates:

The authors discuss the limitations and strengths of the research, and many are those you would expect (differentiating foreign vs. US-born IMGs, etc.), but the paper is ammunition against those who would be quick to dismiss talented folks coming from offshore and the exemplary service they bring to our health care system.

And this is what I am talking about.  HERE and HERE.

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About the Author: Brad Flansbaum

Brad Flansbaum
Bradley Flansbaum, DO, MPH, MHM works for Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA in both the divisions of hospital medicine and population health. He began working as a hospitalist in 1996, at the inception of the hospital medicine movement. He is a founding member of the Society of Hospital Medicine and served as a board member and officer. He speaks nationally in promoting hospital medicine and has presented at many statewide meetings and conferences. He is also actively involved in house staff education. Currently, he serves on the SHM Public Policy Committee and has an interest in payment policy, healthcare market competition, health disparities, cost-effectiveness analysis, and pain and palliative care. He is SHM’s delegate for the AMA House of Delegates. Dr. Flansbaum received his undergraduate degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY and attended medical school at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. He received his M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is a political junky, and loves to cook, stay fit, read non-fiction, listen to many genres of music, and is a resident of Danville, PA.

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