Registration of sexual orientation in the electronic medical record in family practice: opinions of general practitioners (GPs) in Flanders

Vos, Jolien, Deblonde, Jessika, van den Eynde, Sandra , Deveugele, Myriam and Avonts, Dirk (2012) Registration of sexual orientation in the electronic medical record in family practice: opinions of general practitioners (GPs) in Flanders. In: Rendez-Vous 2012 Conference, 9-14 Oct 2012, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

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Background: Discussing sexual health is a sensitive issue in family practice, these data are often unknown and it is unclear if GP’s know the sexual orientation of patients[1]. Although homosexuals are a minority, they are prominently present in the HIV-population in Belgium[2]. Sexual culture among gay men is not only an individual matter, but embedded in a broader gay community. GP’s, as leading medical actor of community care, may support the continuity of (primary) health care by identifying patients at risk and develop targeted interventions.
Aim: Exploring the view of GP’s in Flanders regarding a systematic registration of the sexual orientation and other risk factors for HIV.
Methodology: An interview guide got drawn up through literature review, group conversations among the authors and feedback from experts. Data were collected and analysed from 13 semi structured interviews of GP’s, living in urban communities in Flanders.
Results: Most GP’s see the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) as a valuable tool and communicator. However, there is no appropriate place to record patients' sexual information or –orientation. Currently GP’s acquire this information from signals of the patient, collecting this information actively outside a clinical context is uncommon. Yet it seems that with appropriate support, GP’s are willing to systematically collect information about HIV risk factors.
Conclusion: GP’s underline the relevance of knowing the sexual orientation of patients; some of them even favour systematic registration in the EMR to organize optimal care and prevention. GP’s are of the opinion they have an important role to play in this matter.

Keywords:Primary care, Sexually Risky Behaviour, Electronic Medical Records
Subjects:L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
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ID Code:14323
Deposited On:12 Jun 2014 15:36

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