C.K. Wang of COTA talks about the disparities in outcomes for the sexual and gender diverse population. He talks about the need for more information and improved training for clinicians.
Many patients in the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to have poor health outcomes, or simply avoid treatment, because of fears of bias and discrimination, C.K. Wang says.
He's the chief medical officer of COTA, a tech company that analyzes data to advance cancer care. He talked with Chief Healthcare Executive® about the disparities in care and outcomes in the latest episode of the Data Book podcast.
Wang talked about the ways that data can be used to achieve health equity, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community, or the sexual and gender diverse (SGD) population.
He talked about the importance of getting better data to improve outcomes, and the need to build trust. Many in the sexual and gender diverse population “delayed or avoided receiving needed medical care or preventative screenings in the past year, because of disrespect, or discrimination from the doctor, or other health care providers,” Wang says.
SGD patients with cancer often have significantly worse survival rates than other patients. They disproportionately experience certain cancers, such as anal, colorectal, breast, cervical, prostate, and lung cancer, he says.
Wang talked about the importance of building trust with patients from the LGBTQ+ community.
“I have found that when patients trust their clinicians, they will provide them with the accurate and necessary data,” Wang says. “And I always say that the fundamental tenets to building trust are education and transparency.”
“I think that this transparency will help garner trust from the patients that you are doing the right thing for them,” he says, adding that providing their health information “will ultimately lead to their improved experience, and care.”
He also talks about the need for better medical education in treating the SGD community, and the importance of better training in health systems as well.
“Health systems can start by offering training programs to all their staff, you know, on SGD topics,” Wang says.
In addition, health systems and hospitals need to “create a safe place” for SGD patients, he adds.