A New Virtual Reality: Benefits and Barriers to Providing Pediatric Gender-Affirming Health Care Through Telehealth

Haley R. Hedrick, Nick T. Glover, Jess T. Guerriero, Kara J. Connelly, Danielle N. Moyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Access to early, multidisciplinary, gender-Affirming health care significantly improves the psychosocial well-being of transgender and gender diverse youth. The Doernbecher Gender Clinic (DGC) is an interdisciplinary pediatric gender clinic consisting of endocrinology, psychology, and social work. Following the initiation of modified operations in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DGC converted all interdisciplinary new patient appointments to telehealth. The purpose of this article is to (1) describe the model of care implemented during modified operations, (2) compare the number of new patients seen before and after modified operations, and (3) to contextualize this information with data from a patient satisfaction survey. Method: Retrospective chart review was used to determine how many interdisciplinary new patient appointments occurred before and during modified operations. Additional variables included age, gender, visit modality (phone or video), geographic location, and number of caregivers who participated. In addition, patients and families who attended appointments since modified operations were invited to complete a prospective survey regarding their experience and satisfaction with these appointments, and the narrative responses to questions about advantages and disadvantages were analyzed thematically. Results: Chart review revealed a similar number and make up of new patient appointments before and after the initiation of modified operations. The percentage of patients residing in other urban areas outside of the Portland metro increased over the course of the three time periods, but not to a significant degree. Survey results suggest that both telehealth and in-person visits have advantages and disadvantages with regard to (1) access and (2) comfort. Families appear to differ with regard to their priorities in each area. Conclusion: Telehealth has the potential to provide quality pediatric gender-Affirming health care without sacrificing the benefits of an interdisciplinary team-based approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalTransgender Health
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Interdisciplinary gender clinic
  • Pediatric health care
  • Telehealth
  • Transgender youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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