Mass.-based digital health company athenahealth rolled out new capabilities focused on making healthcare more inclusive for transgender and nonbinary patients.
Now on its athenaOne platform, an EHR, medical billing and patient care tool, doctors can input information about a patient’s name, pronouns and gender identity, in addition to their legal name and assigned sex or gender at birth.
The company said the new feature is born out of athenahealth events in 2021, including the Hack for Health Equity and Codefest.
“It is incumbent upon healthcare systems and health IT vendors to improve the inclusiveness and accessibility of healthcare options and ensure barriers are removed so all patients feel respected and confident in the care they are receiving,” Paul Brient, chief product officer at athenahealth, said in a statement.
WHY IT MATTERS
Many members of the transgender and nonbinary community have faced discrimination from healthcare providers and organizations. In fact, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey: Report on Health and Health Care, 19% of survey takers reported being refused care because they were transgender or gender non-conforming.
Twenty-eight percent of responders said that they were “subjected to harassment in a medical setting” and 50% said they needed to educate their provider about transgender care.
THE LARGER TREND
Today the medical community is discussing ways to help provide better care for transgender and nonbinary patients. Boston University School of Medicine built a curriculum-assessment tool to determine whether it and other medical schools are adequately teaching about recommended LGBTQ+ competencies. OptumHealth Education also launched a new training program to help health professionals better support the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
A handful of startups are also focusing on supporting members of the LBGTQ+ community to access healthcare. Plume, a virtual platform designed to help members of the transgender community find health services, landed $14 million in Series A funding in 2021.
LGBTQ+ focused digital health provider Folx Health landed $25 million in 2021. At that time, the company announced it was kicking off its offerings with a Hormone Replacement Therapy plan, as well as sexual health and wellness services.