My Primary Care Physician is retiring after something like 40 years as my PCP and I have to pick a new PCP so I am about to see how trans friendly they are.
Primary Care Clinicians’ Willingness to Care for Transgender PatientsSo in my quest for a new PCP, I wonder if my medical records that will be transferred over to the new doctor will know that I’m trans or whether when I walk through the door I should yell “Surprise!”
Annals of Family Medicine
By Deirdre A. Shires, PhD, MSW, MPH, et al
November/December 2018 vol. 16 no. 6 555-558
Transgender patients report negative experiences in health care settings, but little is known about clinicians’ willingness to see transgender patients. We surveyed 308 primary care clinicians in an integrated Midwest health system and 53% responded. Most respondents were willing to provide routine care to transgender patients (85.7%) and Papanicolaou (Pap) tests (78.6%) to transgender men. Willingness to provide routine care decreased with age; willingness to provide Pap tests was higher among family physicians, those who had met a transgender person, and those with lower transphobia. Medical education should address professional and personal factors related to caring for the transgender population to increase access.
While most clinicians were willing to provide routine care and Pap tests to transgender patients, support was not universal. Multivariate results suggest that younger clinicians are more willing to provide routine care. Only personal experiences and biases—having met a transgender person and transphobia—predicted willingness to provide Pap tests to transgender men. Our findings, as well as the success of transgender speaker panels,7 point to the importance of integrating not only clinical but also personal exposure to transgender individuals into medical education. In addition, family medicine clinicians were more willing than internists to provide Pap tests. Some primary care physicians, however, particularly internists, may not routinely offer these tests, preferring to refer patients to a gynecologist
It is encouraging that most respondents reported willingness to provide routine care services to transgender patients. Yet ideally, every clinician should be willing to provide routine care—within the general scope of their practice—to all patients, regardless of their gender identity or expression. Furthermore, willingness is not necessarily equivalent to competence or the ability to provide high-quality, sensitive care; respondents in this study were more likely to report willingness to care for transgender patients than they were to report feeling capable of providing routine care to this patient population. The importance of incorporating best practices for appropriate care for transgender patients into medical education cannot be overstated.