Assessment of patient-centered approaches to collect sexual orientation and gender identity information in the emergency department: The EQUALITY study
This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University
Importance: Health care and government organizations call for routine collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) information in the clinical setting, yet patient preferences for collection methods remain unknown.
Objective: To assess of the optimal patient-centered approach for SOGI collection in the emergency department (ED) setting.
Design, setting, and participants: This matched cohort study (Emergency Department Query for Patient-Centered Approaches to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity [EQUALITY] Study) of 4 EDs on the east coast of the United States sequentially tested 2 different SOGI collection approaches between February 2016 and March 2017. Multivariable ordered logistic regression was used to assess whether either SOGI collection method was associated with higher patient satisfaction with their ED experience. Eligible adults older than 18 years who identified as a sexual or gender minority (SGM) were enrolled and then matched 1 to 1 by age (aged ≥5 years) and illness severity (Emergency Severity Index score ±1) to patients who identified as heterosexual and cisgender (non-SGM), and to patients whose SOGI information was missing (blank field). Patients who identified as SGM, non-SGM, or had a blank field were invited to complete surveys about their ED visit. Data analysis was conducted from April 2017 to November 2017.
Interventions: Two SOGI collection approaches were tested: nurse verbal collection during the clinical encounter vs nonverbal collection during patient registration. The ED physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and registrars received education and training on sexual or gender minority health disparities and terminology prior to and throughout the intervention period.
Main outcomes and measures: A detailed survey, developed with input of a stakeholder advisory board, which included a modified Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit score and additional patient satisfaction measures.
Results: A total of 540 enrolled patients were analyzed; the mean age was 36.4 years and 66.5% of those who identified their gender were female. Sexual or gender minority patients had significantly better Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit scores with nonverbal registrar form collection compared with nurse verbal collection (mean [SD], 95.6 [11.9] vs 89.5 [20.5]; P = .03). No significant differences between the 2 approaches were found among non-SGM patients (mean [SD], 91.8 [18.9] vs 93.2 [13.6]; P = .59) or those with a blank field (92.7 [15.9] vs 93.6 [14.7]; P = .70). After adjusting for age, race, illness severity, and site, SGM patients had 2.57 (95% CI, 1.13-5.82) increased odds of a better Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit score category during form collection compared with verbal collection.
Conclusions and relevance: Sexual or gender minority patients reported greater comfort and improved communication when SOGI was collected via nonverbal self-report. Registrar form collection was the optimal patient-centered method for collecting SOGI information in the ED.