HumanInsight Telemedicine Utilization Among Transgender and Gender-Diverse Adolescents Before and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
Telemed J E Health. 2023 Feb 15. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0382. Online ahead of print.
Introduction: Little is known about how expansion of telemedicine services during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected access to gender-affirming care for transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) youth. The purpose of this study was to explore differences in demographic characteristics and visit completion rates at a multidisciplinary gender clinic before and after telemedicine implementation in March 2020 and among telemedicine users and nonusers. Methods: Data were from electronic health records of Seattle Children's Gender Clinic (SCGC) patients seen between April 2019 and February 2021. We assessed differences in demographic characteristics and care utilization (i.e., encounter type and status) between April 2019 and February 2020 (pre-telemedicine) and April 2020 and February 2021 (post-telemedicine). Results: Of the 1,051 unique patients seen at SCGC during this time period, majority groups were as follows: 62% identified as transmasculine/male, 68% were non-Hispanic White, and 76% resided within 50 miles of the clinic. Statistically significant differences were observed in patient pronouns and insurance type when comparing the pre- and post-telemedicine periods (p < 0.01). Half (52%) of post-telemedicine period encounters were conducted through telemedicine, and telemedicine encounters were significantly more likely to be completed (72% vs. 50%) and less likely to be canceled (21% vs. 46%) compared with in-person encounters. Conclusions: Telemedicine services facilitated continued access to gender-affirming care services for TGD youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the introduction of telemedicine did not exacerbate demographic disparities in access to this care, further research and interventions are warranted to address the ongoing disparities in access to gender-affirming care for youth of color and rural youth.
PMID:36791325 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0382
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