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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Study Explores Use of Gender Affirming Language in Electronic Medical Records

Most young adults who identify as transgender want their preferred names and pronouns documented in electronic medical records (EMRs), according to recent survey findings published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The study was co-authored by Dr. Robert Garofalo, chief of adolescent medicine in the Department of Pediatrics and the Potocsnak Family Professor in Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“Having an EMR mis-gender a patient with inaccurate pronouns creates unnecessary barriers to healthcare and instills added stress into what can already be considered a somewhat challenging clinical environment,” Dr. Garofalo said. “On more complex level, the ability to include preferred names and pronouns can have real impact on medical decision making and, ultimately, the provision of the highest quality of care.”

Currently, the majority of EMR systems have the capacity to display a patient’s preferred name and pronouns. However, implementation of this has been severely limited and may be due to of a lack of awareness amongst healthcare systems regarding the importance of ensuring that transgender patients have a welcoming and affirming experience while accessing care, according to the authors.

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