Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men and gender diverse people. Gender-related factors are seldom assessed as determinants of health outcomes, despite their powerful contribution. The Gender Outcomes INternational Group: to Further Well-being Development (GOING-FWD) project developed a standard five-step methodology applicable to retrospectively identify gender-related factors and assess their relationship to outcomes across selected cohorts of non-communicable chronic diseases from Austria, Canada, Spain, Sweden. Step 1 (identification of gender-related variables): Based on the gender framework of the Women Health Research Network (ie, identity, role, relations and institutionalised gender), and available literature for a certain disease, an optimal ‘wish-list’ of gender-related variables was created and discussed by experts. Step 2 (definition of outcomes): Data dictionaries were screened for clinical and patient-relevant outcomes, using the International Consortium for Health Outcome Measurement framework. Step 3 (building of feasible final list): a cross-validation between variables per database and the ‘wish-list’ was performed. Step 4 (retrospective data harmonisation): The harmonisation potential of variables was evaluated. Step 5 (definition of data structure and analysis): The following analytic strategies were identified: (1) local analysis of data not transferable followed by a meta-analysis combining study-level estimates; (2) centrally performed federated analysis of data, with the individual-level participant data remaining on local servers; (3) synthesising the data locally and performing a pooled analysis on the synthetic data and (4) central analysis of pooled transferable data. The application of the GOING-FWD multistep approach can help guide investigators to analyse gender and its impact on outcomes in previously collected data.
Khaled El Emam
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa