New EHR Tools Enable Providers to Better Serve LGBT Patients

Accurate naming, pronouns, history a small step forward

Cleveland Clinic providers can now more easily capture gender identity, preferred name and sexual orientation data as part of their clinical workflows in ambulatory, inpatient and emergency room settings.

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The new Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity section in the electronic health record (EHR) guides clinical providers to ask these critical questions, allowing caregivers to provide better care to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) patients.

The patient’s preferred name is now being captured at check-in by front-line caregivers and will soon be displayed on patient headers seen by clerical and clinical users of Epic across the enterprise. LGBT patients are at increased risk for substandard, insensitive or even abusive care due to stigmatization. Accurate naming is one small step toward decreasing stigmatization. “Clinician caregivers now have improved tools to provide culturally competent, respectful care to their patients and understand their health needs better,” says Jim Hekman, MD, Medical Director of the Lakewood Family Health Center and staff in the Cleveland Clinic Centers for LGBT Care.

Dr. Hekman noted that the innovations of Cleveland Clinic’s transgender workgroup and their teams will have a significant impact on patients across the institution. For the third year, these concerted, long-term efforts to provide world-class care to LGBT patients have helped Cleveland Clinic, many of its regional hospitals and Cleveland Clinic Florida earn coveted recognition as a 2017 Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality. This recognition signifies that Cleveland Clinic meets all of the “Core Four” criteria for LGBT-patient-centered care:

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  • patient non-discrimination,
  • equal visitation,
  • employment practices and
  • training in LGBT-centered care.

Cleveland Clinic’s Center for LGBT Care offers comprehensive, compassionate care for all patients regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.