There are several things a clinic can do to improve healthcare access and quality for SGM patients:
- Adopt SGM affirmative policies and procedures. The clinic needs to have policies and procedures on the books that underscore its support for SGM patients and employees. The policies also need to be widely shared and enforced, and the consequences for violations should be specified. All staff responsible for enforcing the policies should receive relevant training.
- Create a welcoming physical environment for SGM patients. The physical environment of the clinic should be positive and welcoming of all patients, including those who are SGM. Low-cost things that clinics can do to create such an environment are to hang posters and artwork and display brochures, educational materials, and other items that signify affirmations of SGM patients, and ensure access to gender-inclusive restrooms within the clinic.
- Document sexual orientation and gender identity information. Information about sexual orientation and gender identity is an important part of routine clinical care that can make it possible for the clinic to understand and address health and healthcare disparities impacting SGM patients.
- Provide ongoing training for all employees in SGM cultural competency, including the use of supportive language. Providers and staff should be empowered and expected to become familiar with basic approaches to cultural competency when caring for SGM people. They also need to be aware and proficient in using common SGM terminology, including gender-inclusive language, when communicating with patients.
- Initiate clinical workforce development to encourage the delivery of high-quality services for SGM patients. Providers and staff should ensure that SGM patients can receive clinical care per national recommendations and best practices.
Included in this Chapter: An overview of key recommendations to improve access and quality of care for SGM patients, including outlines for action steps, templates to collect information about SGM identity, best practices for patient communication, tables of available training opportunities, and professional development publications.