Thots from the Analytic Life-cycle: Re-validate What You Think You Know

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An article came out in JAMA recently concluding that an elderly patient is less likely to die or be readmitted if they have a female doctor versus a male doctor.

In an earlier post, we touched on the importance of finding the “why” behind the data. This article does an excellent job of exploring what some of those factors could be such as more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines, provide preventive care more often, use more patient-centered communication, perform as well or better on standardized examinations, and provide more psychosocial counseling to their patients.

These factors can be used to help doctors of any gender realize the importance of each of these items as being critical to providing better patient care. Even a doctor who is already doing these tasks may have been going purely on instinct; this study provides her with the hard evidence needed that solidifies that these items are having a positive impact on a patient’s life.

When students are filling out course evaluations for the courses we teach, I encourage them not only to suggest what needs to be improved but also what was done well. If you don’t get feedback on what’s working, you may be tempted to eliminate it.

As analysts, keep in mind not only is it important to find the “what” and the “why” but even re-validating the “I think this is a good thing” can make a positive impact.