Despite the fact that the United States has some of the best schools of medicine in the World at some of the most prestigious universities, a new study has found that overall, foreign-trained doctors have patients with a higher survival rate.
The study, published in The BMJ journal, reveals that medicine graduates who received international training have been linked to lower death rates when caring for patients with higher rates of various chronic conditions, than the US-trained graduates.
According to the researchers, the current standards for selecting medical graduates from across the world to practice in the US are quite rigorous in order to ensure that the selected doctors provide high-quality care.
Foreign-trained doctors who practice in the United States only make up around a quarter of the total workforce of physicians in the country. Similar numbers were also found in countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada. Currently, both the UK and the US require graduates to pass several examinations before they can practice medicine. However, despite these regulations, some have raised concerns about the quality of care provided by the foreign-trained doctors.
There have been no previous studies that investigated the differences in the quality of care and patient outcomes from the two different groups of doctors. Therefore, for their study, the researchers compared the results of general internists who graduated outside the US with those of the graduates from a US school of medicine.
The researchers analyzed the data of over 1.2 million Medicare subscribers with ages above 65 years old, which were admitted to the hospital between 2011 and 2014. All the patients were treated either by a non-US general internist graduate or a doctor from a national school.
The researchers observed that foreign-trained doctors had more patients with chronic conditions, but despite this fact, their patients had a 0.4 percent lower mortality risk than those of US-trained doctors. This small increase in quality care means that one in every 250 patients could be saved if the quality of care of US-trained doctors was the same as those of international graduates.
Researchers believe that this correlation is determined by the fact that selection process for graduates who want to practice in the US leads to acceptance of better doctors.
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