Mandatory training in gender-affirming healthcare would improve the medical experience for transgender patients, according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
The study team analyzed survey and in-person interview responses from transgender teens in the Seattle area and found six barriers to healthcare treatment in trans youth:
- Few pediatric providers trained in gender-affirming care
- A lack of consistency in applying protocols
- Inconsistent use of the patients' preferred name or pronoun
- Gatekeeping and uncoordinated care
- Limited or delayed access to transitional hormones and medications
- Insurance barriers
Medical providers are often untrained in the anatomy and needs of transgender patients, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Transgender patients may also be harassed in medical settings--according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 28 percent of patients surveyed said they'd experienced it. In an extreme example, the Daily Beast reports that a trans patient in Pakistan died from gunshot wounds after a local hospital kept her waiting for more than a hour, and then had trouble choosing to place her in the men's or women's ward.
In response to these issues, the transgender community has formed its own health referral networks to help connect patients with trans-friendly practices.
In response to these challenges, the Journal study offers six solutions to better cater to the medical needs of transgender youth:
- Mandatory training on gender-affirming care
- Protocols for young trans patients and roadmaps for their families
- Records of patients' chosen names or pronouns
- Increased numbers of multidisciplinary gender clinics
- Hormone treatments provided at an age that allows development alongside peers
- Designating a point person at clinics for transgender families