Preferences in Clinical Care of Individuals With Differences of Sex Development

Pediatrics. 2024 May 3:e2023064207. doi: 10.1542/peds.2023-064207. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: To identify the most important attributes related to the process of achieving, and outcomes associated with, successful care for differences of sex development (DSD).

Methods: We developed a best-worst scaling survey administered to 520 DSD stakeholders, including individuals or family members of those with DSD, health care specialists, and patient support and advocacy representatives. Fourteen process-related attributes and 16 outcome-related attributes were identified through qualitative research. We estimated relative importance scores and coefficients from regression analysis to understand the relative importance of attributes and conducted latent class analysis to explore heterogeneity in preferences.

Results: The 3 most important process attributes were (1) good communication between care team and patient/family, (2) care team educated patient/family about condition, and (3) care team incorporates the values of patient/family. The 3 most important outcome attributes were (1) patient satisfaction, (2) patient mental health, and (3) treatment maintains physical health. Latent class analyses showed that respondents had heterogeneous preferences. For process-related attributes, we identified 3 respondent groups: "Patient autonomy and support" (46% of respondents), "Education and care transitions" (18%), and "Shared decision-making" (36%). For outcome-related attributes, we identified 2 respondent groups: "Preserving function and appearance" (59% of respondents) and "Patient health and satisfaction" (41%).

Conclusions: Outcomes such as patient satisfaction and health were the most important outcome attributes, and good communication and education from the care team were the most important process attributes. Respondents expressed heterogeneous preferences for selected DSD care attributes that providers should consider to improve satisfaction with and quality of DSD care.