Decision aids can improve care for LGBTQ patients of color

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer patients who are also racial or ethnic minorities face considerable health disparities, but improving physician education, communication and shared decision-making may improve outcomes, according to new research from the University of Chicago Medicine.

"Racial/ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity minority status are all marginalized social identities, so they act in concert to further marginalize people who are trying to navigate the healthcare system," said Monica Peek, MD, associate professor of medicine at U of C.

That said, there are few resources available to help providers care for patients at the intersection of multiple LGBTQ and racial or ethnic minority statuses. To tackle this problem, Dr. Peek and her colleagues conducted a study on current literature covering shared decision-making in African-American LGBTQ populations.

The research team developed a conceptual model to demonstrate how the social identities of the patients and physicians — as well as the perceptions of those identities — can affect shared decision-making. Ultimately, the team found trust could really only be built if the physician acknowledges his or her own identities in relation to those of the patients.

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Once physicians establish trust with the patient, they require decision aids — such as one-on-one counseling, multimedia tools and self-guided materials — to educate and engage patients in the shared decision-making process.

Another researcher, Aviva Nathan, reviewed nearly 600 studies and identified disappointingly few on the efficacy of decision aids with a participant group of more than 50 percent racial, ethnic, sexual or gender minority.

"There are a lot of opportunities for decision aids to be tested and used in these double minority groups, because they have a lot of issues that could be really helped by using tools that facilitate conversations with their doctors," said Ms. Nathan.

To learn more about the U of C research, click here.



More articles on health disparities:
Ambulances are more likely to be diverted when the patient inside is black, study finds
Healthcare barriers persist for lesbian, gay and bisexual patients
CMS designs tool to track Medicare disparities in the US

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