The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute has awarded The Fenway Institute funding to study the best ways to collect data regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Fenway Institute, a Boston-based nonprofit interdisciplinary center dedicated to ensuring cultural competence in healthcare for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community through research and evaluation, training and education, and policy and advocacy, has been approved for a $2,075,915 funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to determine the best way to train community health center staff in the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data.
PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.
To meet that goal, the project will also evaluate the impact of that enhanced data collection on health outcomes for LGBT patients.
According to experts who spoke with HealthLeaders Magazine, the typical "not counting" of these individuals represents just the beginning of missed opportunities in best serving their needs. Furthermore, insensitivity by healthcare providers can lead these patients to avoid care altogether.
However, many healthcare providers lack proper training to ask questions about sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and gender identity, while social stigma prevents many patients from volunteering this information.
In addition, electronic health record (EHR) systems do not currently include standard ways to collect SOGI information. Without this knowledge, providers cannot properly identify and address health disparities affecting their LGBT patients.
"This new PCORI award will allow staff at The Fenway Institute to evaluate health outcomes before and after community health center personnel receive trainings about LGBT health from Fenway’s National LGBT Health Education Center. The study could help transform LGBT clinical care nationally by demonstrating the importance of providers receiving specialized training," said Kenneth H. Mayer, MD, co-chair and medical research director of The Fenway Institute, who will serve as principal investigator on the project.
Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.