New tools to help healthcare organizations collect SOGI data

Categories: Care and Research.

The Fenway Institute released new tools to help healthcare organizations collect sexual orientation and gender identity data to improve quality of care and reduce LGBT health disparities.

In honor of LGBT Pride Month (this past June in the U.S.), the Fenway Institute released a series of three issue briefs to help healthcare organizations collect sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data from patients to improve quality of care and reduce health disparities. Fenway worked with the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago on the briefs.

These issue briefs are based on data from key stakeholder interviews with healthcare organizations across the country. While implementing SOGI data collection can be challenging, many institutions across the U.S. have successfully implemented SOGI data collection to improve quality of care for LGBT patients. These issue briefs highlight strategies that have proven successful, including in rural and Southern states.

“Health care organizations across the country have successfully implemented SOGI data collection with patients,” said Tim Wang, Senior Policy Analyst at The Fenway Institute. “They have overcome concerns such as the fear that patients will be offended by being asked these questions. In fact, research shows that the vast majority of patients understand why it’s important to collect SOGI data, and don’t object to being asked.”

The stakeholder interviews showed that the process for implementing SOGI data collection has multiple phases—from initial conception to building support to real world implementation—and each phase has unique challenges. These issue briefs are meant to address these unique challenges and aid healthcare organizations no matter where they may be in the process of implementing SOGI data collection. The first brief, “Helping Your Organization Collect Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data,” helps healthcare organizations begin the process of SOGI data collection by explaining the benefits and motivating factors to convince key stakeholders that SOGI data collection is necessary. The second brief, “Eight Tips for Building Coalition Support and Moving SOGI Data Collection Forward in Your Organization,” provides helpful tips and strategies to continue to build momentum and support for SOGI data collection after initial buy-in from key stakeholders.  The final brief, “The Nuts and Bolts of SOGI Data Implementation: A Troubleshooting Toolkit,” provides tips and approaches to solve real world implementation issues from healthcare organizations that have already successfully implemented SOGI data collection.

“Collecting SOGI data provides healthcare institutions with information to identify and close quality of care gaps for their LGBT patients,” said Alison Laffan, a Principal Research Scientist in NORC’s Health Care department. This series of issue briefs is available online.

About Fenway Health
Since 1971, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhoods, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population. The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. AIDS Action, Fenway’s public health division, works to reduce the number of HIV infections while supporting those already infected, and operates a needle exchange that serves as an entry point to healthcare services for active substance users.

About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.