Results Summary

What was the research about?

Not all healthcare clinics document people’s sexual orientation and gender identity, or SOGI, in their health records. But knowing patients’ SOGI can help clinic staff, such as doctors and nurses, give high-quality care that respects the needs of sexual and gender minority, or SGM, patients. SGM is a term that is sometimes used for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Quality care can include tailored health screenings and referrals for SGM patients based on SOGI.

In this study, the research team compared two ways to train clinic staff to improve their documentation of data on SOGI, health screenings, and referrals:

  • A training program. The program had three parts. First, the team surveyed staff about how ready they were to document and talk about SOGI. Then, based on the survey results, the team gave tailored, in-person trainings on SGM health and how to document SOGI data in health records. Last, the team asked staff how likely they were to use what they learned.
  • An optional webinar. Clinic staff could watch a one-hour online webinar on SGM health and documenting SOGI.

What were the results?

After two years, the number of clinics with improvements in documenting SOGI, preventive health screenings, and referrals didn’t differ between clinics that received the training program and those that received the optional webinar.

Who was in the study?

This study included 12 healthcare clinics in 10 states. Clinics served between 1,182 and 134,199 patients. In clinics, patients who identified as a sexual minority ranged from less than 1 percent to 59 percent. Patients who identified as a gender minority ranged from less than 1 percent to 17 percent.

What did the research team do?

The research team assigned clinics by chance to receive the training program or the optional webinar. In clinics that received the training program, 17 percent to 100 percent of staff attended trainings. Clinics held 2 to 10 trainings.

Over two years, the research team reviewed health records for SOGI data; data on preventive screening for depression, HIV, cancer, and other illnesses; and referrals to services based on screening results.

What were the limits of the study?

At the start of the study, documentation of SOGI and screening in health records differed across clinics. When clinics already documented SOGI for most patients, it was hard to see improvements from the program or webinar. Also, the number of trainings and staff who were trained differed widely. Results may have differed if trainings were similar across clinics. Researchers collected follow-up data during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptions in clinical care may have affected results.

Future research could continue to look at ways to improve consistent documentation of SOGI data.

How can people use the results?

Clinics can use the results when considering ways to improve their documenting of SOGI in health records.

Final Research Report

This project's final research report is expected to be available by August 2024.

Peer-Review Summary

The Peer-Review Summary for this project will be posted here soon.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Project Information

Kenneth H. Mayer, MD
Fenway Community Health Center
Comparative Effectiveness Research to Improve the Health of Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Patients through Cultural Competence and Skill Training of Community Health Center (CHC) Providers and Non-clinical Staff

Key Dates

November 2017
May 2023

Study Registration Information


Has Results
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 14, 2024