This issue brief from the Fenway Institute National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Education Center describes the emerging best practice recommendation for collecting patient sexual orientation and gender identity data in electronic health records.  Providers who are informed of their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity, and are trained to care for LGBT patients, are better able to provide care that is relevant, specific, and compassionate.

The recommended sexual orientation question is:

Do you think of yourself as:

  • Straight or heterosexual
  • Lesbian, gay, or homosexual
  • Bisexual
  • Something else
  • Don’t know

The recommended two-part gender identity question is:

Do you think of yourself as:

  • Male
  • Female
  • Female-to-Male (FTM)/Transgender Male/Trans Man
  • Male-to-Female (MTF)/Transgender Female/Trans Woman
  • Genderqueer, neither exclusively male or female
  • Additional gender category/(or Other): please specify:
  • Something else

What sex were you assigned at birth on your original birth certificate? (check one)

  • Male
  • Female
  • Decline to answer

It also is recommended to ask patients their preferred name and gender pronouns:

Preferred name.

  • Specify:

Preferred gender pronouns:

  • He/Him
  • She/Her
  • They/Them
  • Other:

Link to Original Source

The Fenway Institute also has a website, in collaboration with the Center for American Progress,  DoAskDoTell, that has a toolkit with additional resources about collecting and using patient sexual orientation and gender identity data to improve health care for LGBT individuals.  The toolkit provides the specific sexual orientation and gender identity questions that are recommended by national LGBT organizations and which have been shown to work with diverse patient populations served by community health centers in different parts of the United States. It also describes how to collect these data in electronic health records systems, how to use these data to support clinical processes, and how to train clinical staff to interact with LGBT patients in ways that are affirming and welcoming. Finally, the toolkit highlights other resources that health care providers can use to offer culturally and clinically competent care that reflects their LGBT patients’ unique needs.

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