09:08 AM

Experts Offer Guidance on Improving LGBTQ+ Care

The Rheumatologist discusses a session presented by Jillian Rose, PhD, MPH, LCSW, assistant vice president of community engagement, diversity and research at HSS, and Melissa Flores, MPH, LCSW, social worker at HSS, at the 2020 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) virtual meeting, offering guidance on how clinicians can take steps to improve the healthcare experience for LGBTQ+ patients.

“Transgender patients, especially, may face unique challenges in interactions with physicians and other healthcare professionals. Research shows that increasing healthcare provider education can have positive health outcomes for the LGBTQ+ community,” explained Rose. “To care for someone, we have to know who they are, and to really know how they identify,” she noted.

“People who disclose gender identity and sexual orientation feel safer in discussing high-risk behaviors,” and are more likely to receive relevant screenings and have better engagement with the health system, added Rose.

Flores described the HSS enterprisewide intervention for promoting inclusive and safe care for LGTBQ+ patients. The initiative involved staff training on providing care to transgender and gender-non-conforming patients, federal and state laws, the hospital’s mission, a review of terms, and hospital’s script for data collection, and other tools and resources. HSS offers patients several opportunities to share their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data before their appointments, either with a patient portal or kiosks in waiting areas.

The goal is that the LGBTQ+ community “fully becomes integrated into the lifeblood of our hospital,” cited Flores. “Critical to this process has been our organization’s commitment to a culture shift that values diversity and inclusion for all,” she added.

Read the full article at the-rheumatologist.org.