Provider Practices and Perspectives regarding Collection and Documentation of Gender Identity

J Homosex. 2021 May 12;68(6):901-913. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2019.1667162. Epub 2019 Sep 17.


Recent recommendations to include patient sexual orientation (SO) and gender identity (GI) in the electronic health record (EHR) aim to improve clinical care and address health disparities among sexual and gender minority patients. Collection and documentation of GI may be complex due to multiple clinically relevant components. This study explored provider practices in collecting and documenting GI across multiple specialties. Qualitative interviews with 25 healthcare providers were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis and principles of grounded theory were used to analyze the data. Without a protocol and absent dedicated locations in the EHR for collecting and documenting patient GI, provider practices were inconsistent and highlighted challenges for communication across clinical staff. Providers noted that patients' disclosure of GI was typically unprompted, or was presumed through disclosure of gender affirming treatments. Findings indicate the need for provider training and appropriate EHR fields to support GI collection and documentation.

Keywords: Gender identity; LGBT health; clinical care; documentation; electronic health record; health disparities; qualitative methods.

MeSH terms

  • Disclosure
  • Documentation*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities