Telehealth for LGBTQ+ Patients Guide

Telehealth for LGBTQ+ Patients

Telehealth appointments are a safe, convenient way for LGBTQ+ patients to access healthcare. Telehealth can also be a necessary lifeline for some patients who do not have LGBTQ+-affirming healthcare available nearby. Understanding the medical, emotional and social issues unique to LGBTQ+ patients will help providers give quality healthcare in a virtual setting.

Best practices for LGBTQ+ telehealth care

It is important to make sure your practice is inclusive, both in person and through telehealth. Inclusivity builds comfort and trust, which helps your patient get the best care possible.

Make sure your intake and online forms are inclusive

Check to make sure your online or email intake forms or health assessments are updated to be inclusive for sex assigned at birth, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This allows you to collect accurate information you will need as part of your telehealth care and it also lets your LGBTQ+ patients know that you prioritize their health and wellbeing.

Review and modify your forms to move away from cis-gendered, heteronormative language. Suggested changes include:

  • “Caregiver” or “parent” instead of “mother” or “father”
  • “Spouse” instead of “husband” or “wife”

Also allow space for your patients to write in their own answers if the multiple choice options do not apply to them.

Examples of inclusive gender identity include:

  • Female
  • Male
  • Non-binary
  • Transgender
  • Transmasculine
  • Transfeminine
  • Genderqueer
  • Something else (please specify)

Examples of sex assigned at birth could include:

  • Male
  • Female
  • Intersex
  • Something else (please specify)

Examples of sexual orientation include:

  • Straight
  • Gay/Lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Pansexual
  • Something else (please specify)

Encourage your colleagues and staff to take LGBTQ+ health education training as part of your telehealth workflow

Educating yourself and your staff on LGBTQ+ health care will ensure you are providing the highest quality telehealth care to communities that are often marginalized in traditional health care settings. This especially includes people of color, transgender youth, and people living with HIV/AIDS. There are also large communities of people that fit into several of those categories, which can lead to further marginalization.

Specialized training could include information about LBGTQ+ youth, behavioral and mental health, HIV/AIDS treatment and counseling, and transgender health care.