Purpose: There is very little information available regarding the health needs of transgender and gender diverse adolescents and young adults with gender dysphoria who reside in rural areas of the United States. This study aims to determine if residing in a rural area is associated with the use of telemedicine services, such as synchronous voice-video appointments, for initial contact for medical interventions for gender-related reasons in adolescents and young adults with gender incongruence. Methods: This study is a retrospective chart review of patients (N = 176) ages 10–24 years who had an initial medical appointment for gender-related concerns between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2022. Participants were determined to be rural or not based on address eligibility for rural-related health care services by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Rural Health Clinics Program or the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy grant programs. The use of telemedicine versus in-person appointments were compared, as were initial medical prescriptions (hormones, psychotropic medications, contraceptives, etc.) and recommendations for medical follow-ups made at this initial appointment. Results: Most participants did not reside in a rural location (N = 130). There was no statistically significant difference in the use of telemedicine versus in-person care in rural patients (22% vs. 78%) as compared to nonrural patients (21% vs. 79%), nor any statistically significant differences in the medical decisions made at the initial appointment with respect to rurality or modality of care. Discussion: Residing in a rural area is not associated with either choice of in-person care versus telemedicine services for initial medical appointments or medical decision-making.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health