This study assessed the attitudes, knowledge and experiences caring for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) patients among members of a national group of obstetrician-gynecologists.
Members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) who attended College meetings in Denver and Indiana completed a survey assessing care practices, knowledge and attitudes toward LBT patients.
196 out of 425 (46.1%) physicians completed the survey. Most physicians often or sometimes ask about sexual orientation, but they rarely ask about gender identity. Over 98% feel comfortable treating lesbian and bisexual patients, but 30% believe a provider should be allowed to decline to treat LBT patients if it conflicts with the provider’s religious beliefs. Over 84% agree that their workplace is a safe place for LGBT patients, but most do not have or know if they have office measures that would create a welcoming space, such as posted nondiscrimination policies or LGBT employee training. The majority screen LBT patients at the same rate as non-LBT patients for depression, substance abuse, and cervical cancer. Physicians reported that self-directed learning and experiences with LBT patients were more valuable forms of LBT education than formal training in medical school, residency or CME.
Physicians in obstetrics and gynecology recognize and address issues regarding sexual orientation. Physicians feel comfortable treating LBT patients but are dissatisfied with formal training they receive on LBT health issues. While most believe that their workplaces are safe environments for LBT patients, much more can be done to ensure that patients perceive them to be safe.