Vinaya Bhatia

Credentials: MD

Position title: University of Wisconsin-Madison KURe Program

Website: Institutional Profile

Dr. Bhatia is an Assistant Professor (CHS) in the Department of Urology at the School of Medicine and Public Health. Her mentors are Drs. Heidi Wendell Brown, Marisa Hilliard, and Kris Penniston.

The title of Dr. Bhatia’s work is Transforming Care for Youth with Hypospadias: The Patient-Prioritized Care Plan. Hypospadias (HS) is one the most common congenital urological birth defects worldwide, affecting 1 in 200 male live births. This condition often requires multiple genital surgeries in childhood, all of which exhibit significant complication rates. While ample literature reports the technical outcomes and complication rates in HS, limited research on psychosocial outcomes demonstrates that people with HS experience challenges, including difficulty seeking social support, depression and anxiety, and fear of using public restrooms and change rooms.

The ability to understand and attend to these concerns in tandem with functional concerns, could guide individualized follow-up and referral strategies to improve outcomes in HS. Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is an important patient-reported outcome construct that captures all positive and negative aspects of life that affect health; however it has not been studied in HS. To facilitate understanding of patient priorities and care needs in HS, we developed the HS-Specific HRQOL Framework, which identified five inter-related components8 and identified a battery of HRQOL measures that could be used to obtain a comprehensive understanding of HS-Specific HRQOL.

A care plan tool for patients with HS could help practitioners incorporate functional and HRQOL data into a personalized follow-up plan for youth with HS. Emerging data suggest that indefinite follow-up may be needed to identify both QoL and surgical issues requiring intervention. In other chronic pediatric health conditions requiring life-long follow-up, care plans have been used to improve patient health knowledge, engagement with self-care, and communication with providers. A care planning tool for youth with HS could advance the treatment of HS by ensuring that patients receive early psychosocial support. In addition, such a tool could allow physicians to accurately evaluate the outcomes of different surgical techniques, and, accordingly, routinely incorporate HRQOL into care decision-making for HS. This approach could then be expanded to the care of youth with other complex genitourinary anomalies.