Implementing sexual orientation and gender identity data collection in emergency departments: Patient and staff perspectives

Document Type



General Surgery


Purpose: To identify patient and provider perspectives concerning collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SO&GI) information in emergency departments (EDs).
Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted during the period of 2014-2015 with a diverse purposive sample of patients across the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identities (n = 53) and ED nurses, physician assistants, physicians, and registrars (n = 38) in a major metropolitan area. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed by multiple coders using constant comparative methods.
Results: Patients were willing to provide SO&GI information if collected safely and appropriately, and staff described willingness to collect SO&GI information to inform understanding of health disparities. Key themes across respondents were as follows: What will be done with the data? How will it be collected? Who will collect it? Is the environment conducive to safe disclosure? Confidentiality and potential sensitivity; standardized collection emphasizing population health; nurse intake and/or nonverbal data collection; and environmental cues and cultural competency promoting comfort for sexual and gender minorities emerged as critical considerations for effective implementation.
Conclusion: Staff and patients are amenable to SO&GI data collection in EDs, but data quality and patient and provider comfort may be compromised without attention to specific implementation considerations.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University


LGBT health