STAT: Facing data gaps on transgender populations, researchers turn to health records for answers

Doctoral student studying at UC, Children's discusses solutions for helping transgender patients

Health researchers are using electronic health records to study thousands and millions of patients at a time. This data holds so much promise though the possibilities aren’t as bright for assisting transgender and gender diverse populations — because in many cases, the records simply don’t reflect their identities.

The topic is the subject of a story by STAT and includes comments from Clair Kronk, a doctoral student studying biomedical informatics with faculty at the UC College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Claire Kronk

Clair Kronk. Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Children's.

The best solution — for patients and the researchers and providers who want to support their health — is to make sex, gender, and pronoun data as integral to medical records as date of birth. But in the absence of perfect data, researchers have been developing tools that help identify transgender and gender diverse patients based on signals hidden in their electronic health records.

“We do need to develop algorithms that work without relying on EHRs updating,” Kronk told STAT. “Because to be quite honest, charts are not going to be rolled out with these new things overnight, and providers aren’t going to use them overnight.”

Read the full STAT story with Kronk online.

Learn more about the work of Clair Kronk to provide standardized health terminology in the areas of gender and sexual orientation online.

Kronk successfully defended her dissertation “Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation in Medicine: A Linguistic Analysis” on Feb. 26, 2021. She will be graduating spring 2021.