They say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.
Well, in the case of doctors treating patients with heart disease it turns out that if that’s true it may not be such a bad thing after all.
In fact, a new study published in the June issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice might have you ditching your younger doctor and setting out on a search for one with a little more gray in his hair.
A group of Italian researchers studied the attitudes and prescribing habits of 1,078 family doctors, cardiologists, and diabetes specialists, along with the clinical data on 9,094 of their patients.
The researchers found that the patients with heart disease were more likely to be prescribed cardiovascular drugs…including blood-pressure drugs, cholesterol drugs, and blood thinners…if they were seeing a younger doctor.
In addition to prescribing fewer drugs, older docs in the study were found to have provided more lifestyle counseling to heart patients—including advice on diet, exercise, and smoking—to help them manage their disease without a drug intervention.
And that’s not all. Older doctors came out on top in another vitally important part of the job as well…record keeping. Mature physicians tended to be more thorough and accurate than their younger counterparts when recording clinical data, which naturally results in better outcomes for patients.
Oh, and if you’re not a heart patient but do have a young whippersnapper for a doctor you still shouldn’t let your guard down The study found that younger doctors are also more likely to prescribe diabetes drugs.
Yes, it turns out there’s still a whole lot to be learned from “old dogs” and we should never undervalue their importance…or that of hard-earned maturity.
And don’t forget, the years make us wise in ways that the days never could.
“Impact of physicians’ age on the clinical management of global cardiovascular risk: analysis of the results of the Evaluation of Final Feasible Effect of Control Training and Ultra Sensitisation Educational Programme,” International Journal of Clinical Practice, Volume 65, Issue 6, Article first published online: 12 MAY 2011