Research: Orientation, Gender Data in EHR Would Improve LGBT Outcomes | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Research: Orientation, Gender Data in EHR Would Improve LGBT Outcomes

August 14, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

According to a new research, recording the sexual orientation and gender identity of individuals in an electronic health record (EHR) would help identify the health disparities of LGBT individuals, ultimately leading to improved quality of their care.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) rejected including sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) questions in meaningful use guidelines for EHRs in 2012 but are considering this issue again in 2013. If it did, Sean Cahill, Ph.D., from the Boston-based Fenway Institute and one of the paper’s researchers, says it would dramatically increase our understanding of LGBT health disparities and our ability to address them.

The research paper discussed the challenges of collecting SOGI data. Commentators, they said, questioned the clinical significance of collecting and recording SOGI data in the demographic section of EHR, saying it would provide no additional clinical benefit. They also portrayed data collection and reporting as a burden.

The CMS cited a “lack of consensus for the definition of the concept of gender identity and/or sexual orientation as well as for a standard measure of the concept and where it would be most appropriate to store the data within the EHR, we will await further development of a consensus for the goal and standard of measurement for gender identity and/or sexual orientation.”

“If our government doesn't include SOGI data collection in meaningful use guidelines, we will miss a golden opportunity to systematically gather essential data on LGBT health. It will also be very difficult to make progress toward the Healthy People 2020 goal of eliminating LGBT health disparities,” the authors argue.

The University of California, Davis Health System recently announced it will become the first academic health system in the country to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity as standard demographic elements within the electronic health records (EHRs) for its patients.



NewYork-Presbyterian, Walgreens Partner on Telemedicine Initiative

NewYork-Presbyterian and Walgreens are collaborating to bring expanded access to NewYork-Presbyterian’s healthcare through new telemedicine services, the two organizations announced this week.

ONC Releases Patient Demographic Data Quality Framework

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) developed a framework to help health systems, large practices, health information exchanges and payers to improve their patient demographic data quality.

AMIA, Pew Urge Congress to Ensure ONC has Funding to Implement Cures Provisions

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) have sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to ensure that ONC has adequate funding to implement certain 21st Century Cures Act provisions.

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.