Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Exemplars
Introduction: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ+) patients experience significantly more health care disparities than non-LGBTQ+ patients. Although sexual orientation and gender identity data (SOGI) would help quantify and track these known disparities, there are no standardized methods for routinely and consistently including SOGI into health care management in Maine. Our needs assessment (1) evaluates the comfort of health care professionals (HCPs) in collecting SOGI and incorporating it into the medical record and (2) identifies barriers to SOGI collection.
Methods: An interprofessional team conducted a survey of Maine HCPs who identified as working directly with patients or patient records and information to assess how they manage LGBTQ+ data. We then conducted focus groups with survey participants, coded the transcripts, and identified recurrent themes through thematic analysis.
Results: We found that of 357 interprofessional respondents, 62.9% of HCPs agreed that SOGI should be collected with every patient. However, only 30.1% reported collecting SOGI for “all or most” of their patients. The primary barriers to data collection and use were identified as lack of education and comfort with LGBTQ+ topics, HCP concern for causing patient discomfort, and lack of standardization of data management and workflow.
Discussion: Most HCPs in Maine are not yet comfortable with routinely incorporating SOGI. Even if they were comfortable, patient workflows and electronic health records vary widely across systems, and this inconsistency is a substantial obstacle to standardizing SOGI collection. A multidimensional approach is needed to address these barriers moving forward.
Conclusions: HCP’s discomfort with LGBTQ+ topics and non-standardized workflows are driving factors that must be overcome to fully incorporate SOGI collection as a standard best practice.
Soule, Lucy; Fairfield, Melissa; Barron, Sivana; Kuhn, Natalie; and Brown, Brandy
"Results of a Needs Assessment: Use of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data in Health Systems in Maine,"
Journal of Maine Medical Center: Vol. 6
, Article 3.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.46804/2641-2225.1167