Collecting sexual orientation and gender identity information in the emergency department: The divide between patient and provider perspectives

Lisa M. Kodadek, Susan Peterson, Ryan Y. Shields, Danielle German, Anju Ranjit, Claire Snyder, Eric Schneider, Brandyn D. Lau, Adil H. Haider

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background In the USA, The Joint Commission and Institute of Medicine have called for collection of patient sexual orientation (SO) and gender identity (GI) information in healthcare. In a recent study, we reported that ED clinicians believe patients will refuse to provide this information; however, very few patients say they would refuse to provide SO/GI. As part of this study, we interviewed patients and providers regarding the importance of collecting this information. While these interviews were briefly summarised in our prior report, the qualitative data warranted a more thorough analysis and exposition to explore provider and patient views as well as risks and benefits of collecting SO/GI. Methods A purposive sample of 79 participants was recruited for semi-structured interviews between August 2014 and January 2015. Participants included community members who had a previous ED encounter and ED providers from 3 community and 2 academic centres in a major US metropolitan area. Interviews were conducted one-on-one in person, audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using the constant comparative method. Results Fifty-three patients and 26 ED providers participated. Patients perceived collection of SO/GI to be important in most clinical circumstances because SO/GI is relevant to their identity and allows providers to treat the whole person. However, many providers felt SO/GI was not relevant in most clinical circumstances because similar care is provided to all patients regardless of SO/GI. Patients and providers agreed there are risks associated with collecting SO/GI in the ED. Conclusions ED clinicians do not perceive routine collection of SO/GI to be medically relevant in most circumstances. However, patients feel routine SO/GI collection allows for recognition of individual identity and improved therapeutic relationships in the ED. These discordant perspectives may be hindering patient-centred care, especially for sexual and gender minority patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-141
Number of pages6
JournalEmergency Medicine Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • emergency department
  • qualitative research
  • research, epidemiology


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