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Telemedicine and Inequities in Health Care Access: The Example of Transgender Health

HumanInsight Telemedicine and Inequities in Health Care Access: The Example of Transgender Health

Transgend Health. 2022 Apr 11;7(2):113-116. doi: 10.1089/trgh.2020.0122. eCollection 2022 Apr.


Due to concerns about the risk of infectious exposures during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the uptake of telemedicine has increased rapidly, aided by increased acceptance by clinicians and patients and a reduction in regulatory and reimbursement hurdles. The increased access to telemedicine may have benefits beyond the reduction in contagious risk, especially for vulnerable populations. By breaking down some of the common barriers to care for vulnerable populations, the broad implementation of telemedicine may help reduce some inequities in health care access, but telemedicine does raise other challenges that need to be considered and addressed. One vulnerable group that can benefit from telemedicine is transgender and gender nonbinary (TGNB) individuals, who have less access to both gender-affirming and general medical care due to the consequences of stigma, discrimination, and marginalization. Telemedicine allows TGNB individuals to access clinical expertise even if it is not available locally, and without the expense of travel and without the concern for exposure to discrimination and mistreatment. However, lack of access to or expertise in navigating the required technology, lack of a safe and confidential space to access care, and an unpredictable regulatory and reimbursement environment remain hurdles for harvesting the full benefits of telemedicine.

PMID:36644516 | PMC:PMC9829126 | DOI:10.1089/trgh.2020.0122

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