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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification in Epic

By Alexandra Dass, Diversity & Inclusion Program Administrator; Claire O’Brien, MD, and Project Steering Committee

Several efforts have converged on the topic of sexual orientation and gender identification (SOGI) language. To comply with Meaningful Use and the Affordable Care Act, we now have a standardized format and location to document SOGI information in Epic. 

The format goes live with our Oct. 11 Epic upgrade. The project team met with many groups to support this change and answer questions. The following FAQ has been developed based on their feedback.

Who is being trained?

  • The Gender Diversity CBT is being distributed to all providers and Salem Health employees (even those who don’t use Epic) because we all participate in creating a culture of inclusion and should be aware of what we have available to our patients.
  • The Epic training CBT and tip sheets will go to Epic users.

What are we doing?

  • Adding Gender ID (SOGI) data fields in Epic.
  • Releasing a new SmartForm for documentation of SOGI information.
  • Providing education about gender sensitivity and language.

**Note: We are not requiring staff or providers to change workflows with patients.  

Why are we doing it?

  • To provide the best possible care to every patient.
  • Available with Epic 2017 upgrade.
  • Compliance with section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and Meaningful Use.
  • Consistent location to access SOGI information in the chart.

When is this happening?

  • Training started Aug. 1: Diversity training released to staff.
  • Epic 2017 upgrade on Oct. 11 will include the new fields in access workflows and the Gender ID (SOGI) SmartForm.
  • Epic training will occur alongside the main Epic training sets.
  • Diversity training CBT will be distributed to providers with the Epic training.

Does this put me at additional legal risk?

No. Corporate Integrity has done a risk assessment and determined that this does not present any additional risk.

Do I have to ask every patient about their gender preference and sexual orientation?

No. At this time, the intention is to document only if a patient divulges SOGI-related information.

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