Happy Pride: Celebrating progress in LGBTQ+ healthcare and what must come next

June 6, 2023
Jessica Bonham-Werling Head of Marketing

During Pride month the world commemorates the Stonewall Riots that occurred on June 28th, 1969 in New York City. The event sparked five nights that would forever shape the future of global LGBTQ+ activism.

Today, Pride means many things to many people, but for most, one of those things is celebrating progress. With this in mind, we’d like to take an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made in overcoming disparities the LGBTQ+ community faces in both healthcare access and outcomes.

It is well documented that historically, LGBTQ+ individuals:

This has left LGBTQ+ individuals with heightened risks for depression, addiction, cancer, and a myriad of other chronic conditions. In recent years, digital health has taken aim at the roadblocks that lead to these disparities, seeking to change the landscape. We took a look at what several organizations are up to, and see noted progress which we highlight below (please note that this does not imply affiliation with any of the highlighted organizations).

Connecting LGBTQ+ individuals with affirming care

One of the hardest parts of navigating healthcare as an LGBTQ+ person is finding local providers who affirm and support an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Included Health is overcoming this roadblock by matching patients with LGTBQ+-affirming providers in their area. They also offer LGBTQ+ care navigation directed by highly-specialized teams who bring a deep and diverse understanding of LGBTQ+ needs.

In some cases, finding any local provider who is LGBTQ+ affirming may be a near-impossible task. For these folks, there are services from Folx. Folx offers virtual care for general health, sexual health, and transition services. They also offer discreet shipping of PrEP (daily HIV prevention), estrogen, and testosterone prescriptions.

Extending the supply of LGBTQ+-affirming care

While services offered by Included Health and Folx are changing and improving lives every day, the best-case scenario will be when LGBTQ+ patients could receive affirming care from nearly any provider. This is what Violet is working toward. As the first health equity platform, they benchmark inclusive providers and encourage growth to promote the expansion of inclusive care across the industry.

Building families

Building a family is a process that is distinctly different for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Many growing families struggle with fertility issues, the special factors and nuances of the LGBTQ+ journey can make the process particularly challenging to navigate. Kindbody has built experiences that acknowledge the unique needs of LGBTQ+ families and presents them with customized options, support, and care.

Enhancing LGBTQ+ patient experiences through the collection and adoption of SOGI data

Redox is pleased to support digital health organizations on their mission to provide affirming, whole-person care by ensuring sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data fields are available for exchange in all of our integrations through Redox extensions. SOGI data is critical in creating custom experiences for individual LGTBQ+ patients, and also for better understanding the health status, disparities, and needs of the overall community. While the routine collection of this data is still highly variable across healthcare settings and healthcare organizations, if an entity that you exchange data with can send or receive this data, then you can do so with any Redox product.

What must come next

While Pride may be about celebrating progress, it is also about acknowledging work still to be done. There have been real improvements in both visibility of LGBTQ+ health disparities and the availability of affirming care, but progress is typically uneven across geographies and is largely influenced by local, state and federal politics at any given time. The availability of insurance and/or affirming care can swing significantly across state lines and across administrations. While progress is being made, the large strides needed to make sustained progress are not possible without the backing of consistent regulation and legislation at both state and federal levels. Much more work is needed here.

Redox looks forward to spending Pride month celebrating our collective progress while also renewing our commitment to continuous improvement and exploring the ways we can grow our understanding and support of the health of the LGTBQ+ community. Happy Pride.

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