Many LGBT patients prefer to report sexual orientation on paper, study finds

LGBT patients seeking treatment in the emergency department would rather report their sexual orientation through a written medical form than by verbally telling a healthcare provider, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers conducted the study at four EDs on the East Coast. First, researchers had ED nurses ask patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity as part of the social history portion of the patient assessment. A few months later, researchers had patients fill out a demographics information form that included similar questions.

They asked 180 patients who identified themselves as a sexual or gender minority to fill out a satisfaction survey. Researchers also gave the same survey to 180 patients who did not identify as a sexual or gender minority and 180 patients who did not provide any information on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Researchers found sexual or gender minority patients were 2.57 times more likely to be satisfied with reporting this type of personal information on a form versus verbally to a clinician.

Asking patients to report their sexual orientation on a form during registration "is the best patient-centered way to collect sexual orientation and gender identity information in emergency rooms," study co-author Adele Levine, a researcher at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital, told Reuters. "We should collect these data like we do other demographic information, such as race, age and ethnicity."

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