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Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013

News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians

Recording LGBT identity in EHRs could improve care

Recording LGBT identity in EHRs could improve care

Recording the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) of patients in their electronic health records (EHR) would lead to improved quality and outcomes in the care of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, according to a recent article in LGBT Health.

The authors say that noting such information could greatly facilitate identification of the unique health needs and disparities among this patient population. They describe overwhelming support for routine collection of SOGI information among LGBT advocacy groups and HIV/AIDS organizations, as well as the Healthy People 2020 initiative and the Affordable Care Act.

"The Obama administration has taken significant strides toward increasing LGBT data collection on health surveys," author Sean Cahill said. "Right now the federal government is considering whether to include SOGI as a standard demographic question in Stage 3 meaningful use guidelines, which set the standard for data collection in EHRs. We believe that including SOGI measures in these guidelines would dramatically increase our understanding of LGBT health disparities and our ability to address them."

Cahill and co-author Harvey Makadon, MD, also address the implementation concerns that have been raised about the security of EHR systems and the potential for misuse.

The AMA offers resource to help physicians appropriately collect SOGI information and create a GLBT-friendly practice.

New Jersey bans gay conversion therapy

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last week signed a bill barring licensed therapists from attempting to turn gay teenagers straight. Following California's lead, New Jersey will be the second state to enact a so-called "conversion therapy" ban. The bill passed through the New Jersey legislature with bipartisan support.

Christie issued a signing note accompanying the bill, which stated that the health risks of trying to change a child's sexual orientation, as identified by the American Psychological Association, outweigh concerns about the government setting limits on parental choice. He also stated the he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin.

The AMA opposes the use of "reparative" or "conversion" therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his or her homosexual orientation. Read all of the AMA's policies on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.