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Most Patients Willing to Provide Sexual Orientation Data

MONDAY, April 24, 2017 -- Patients are more willing to provide sexual orientation data than providers in the emergency department think they are, according to a study published online April 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Adil H. Haider, M.D., M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues evaluated qualitative interviews conducted in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas with 53 patients and 26 health care professionals on sexual orientation data collection. Interviews were followed by a national online survey involving 1,516 (potential) patients (244 lesbian, 289 gay, 179 bisexual, and 804 straight) and 429 emergency department health care professionals (209 physicians and 220 nurses).

The researchers found in the qualitative interviews that patients were less likely to refuse to provide sexual orientation than providers expected. Nationally, 10.3 percent of patients reported they would refuse to provide sexual orientation. However, 77.8 percent of clinicians thought patients would refuse to provide sexual orientation. Only bisexual patients had increased odds of refusing to provide sexual orientation compared with heterosexual patients after adjustment for demographics (odds ratio, 2.4).

"Implementation of a standardized, patient-centered approach for routine collection of sexual orientation data is required on a national scale to help to identify and address health disparities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations," write the authors.

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Posted: April 2017