In rural areas with few trans-competent physicians, telemedicine may be a promising way to receive care.
A recent NPR story details the ways in which remote medical consultation by videoconference is particularly helpful for trans and nonbinary patients. As these patients face high rates of discrimination and violence in healthcare settings, it is crucial that they have access to competent and trustworthy providers. In rural areas with little opportunity for finding alternate providers, telemedicine therefore offers a way to reach patients who might otherwise avoid care.
QMed is one practice that offers videoconferencing to trans and gender nonconforming patients in the southeastern United States. Though the practice is located in Georgia, the team (led by Dr. Izzy Lowell) treats patients in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee; this can reduce the often burdensome travel costs associated with receiving trans-competent care. The QMed website also notes that many insurance plans cover telemedicine, further reducing costs for patients.
Telemedicine cannot be used for all treatments–for example, all states require that patients receiving testosterone must have at least one in-person appointment every 12 months. Still, this is one promising way to lessen the financial and emotional burdens placed on gender nonconforming and trans patients seeking healthcare. QMed notes that its mission is to fill some of the major gaps in care for transgender and nonbinary patients of all ages. As Dr. Lowell said in an email to NPR, “The current system is not at all fair to transgender people, and I don’t like unfairness.”
You can access the full NPR article here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/05/05/608472248/telemedicine-takes-transgender-care-beyond-the-city?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=healthcare
You can learn more about QMed here: https://www.queermed.com/