How many times have you felt just a wee bit uncomfortable talking to your obviously straight male doctor about anal sex, or turning and coughing for a female physician? Well, those days may soon be behind you.
Introducing SpectrumScores, a new app that aims to connect LGBTQ patients with LGTBQ and LGBTQ-friendly health care providers.
The app is the brainchild of Phil Williams, a second-year med student at Penn State. When he was 11 years old, Williams told his doctor that he was gay. The doctor, in response, referred to a mental health care provider.
The experience, which stuck with Williams well into adulthood, inspired him to find a way to help LGBTQ patients find less judgmental, more inclusive doctors.
SpectrumScores allows users to search, rate, and review health care providers based on four different categories: a welcoming environment, inclusive policies, LGBTQ specific knowledge, and an aggregation of the three rankings. The information will be supplied by LGBTQ advocacy groups, medical centers and, eventually, by app-users themselves.
“Despite improvements in several areas, LGBTQ+ people continue to face significant disparities in terms of healthcare access and outcomes,” the app’s About page explains. “SpectrumScores will empower you to take healthcare back into your own hands by offering an intuitive ranking and review system for physicians across disciplines on the basis of their LGBTQ+ competence.”
The app, which is about to begin beta testing, is being developed by Williams and two other medical students, Jun Jeon and Naven Jain.
“We envision building a community where LGBTQ+ patients can leverage their experiences so that nobody has to feel left in the dark anymore when it comes to healthcare,” Williams tells Philly Mag.
“SpectrumScores isn’t just an app, it’s a mission,” Jeon adds. “Accessibility to proper healthcare is a fundamental human right, no matter where you lie on the spectrum.”
He points to a recent nationwide study showed that more than half of LGBTQ patients have reported discrimination in healthcare settings.
SpectrumScores will launch in select cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, with plans underway to expand across the United States.
Related: How My Doctors Failed To Diagnose My HPV-Related Oral Cancer And Left Me For Dead
When my friend, Ralph, who lives in Paris had his first colonoscopy, the doctor assured him it wouldn’t hurt, that it was just a bit unpleasant. When it was over, my friend, Ralph, said: “You lied to me, doc, it did hurt a bit, but it wasn’t the least bit unpleasant.” The doctor blanched and left the room, refusing to return. I live in Boston and I’ve had a couple residents, especially one from an Arab country, get very nervous when they realized I was gay.
I don’t want to go to a doctor who is gay. I want to go to a doctor who is good.
What makes you think they have to be mutually exclusive?
I lived in Sydney for 30 years & gay doctors were common in central area ,I also had a woman doctor & I never experienced any homophobia with any health professionals there.
This is a great idea. Being LGBTQ and having a highly rated LGBTQ or LGBTQ-friendly doctor makes things a lot easier.
If the doctor isn’t gay they should be completely LGBTQ aware.
I got tired of telling, not asking, hetero docs, what kind of care I need.
NO you need to check my ass for HPV. Yes I WANT and HIV and STI screen.
FINALLY! I assume all my future doctor visits will now be like a scene from jockphysicals.com.
That was the first thing I thought of too?
Lol that was my first thought too. Though it would be nice to have a doctor who knows your struggles and isn’t all judgey and shit. I had one that turned out to be a straight christian doctor, and he asked how I knew I was gay – but it wasn’t a kind of ‘how did you know? I’m interested’ sort of tone, it was a very judgemental kind of ‘Are you SURE you’re gay? How can you be certain? Maybe god can change you?’ kind of tone. I knew it wasn’t because he was interested as to how I knew I was gay, because it was then followed with questions that were indeed quite judgemental and unnecessary. Needless to say he’s no longer my doctor.
That was the first thing I thought of too?
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have doctors who understand the specific healthcare needs of gay men, especially as one gets older. It really can make a huge difference, not only in your comfort level but also the quality of care that you get. There are health issues that are of great concern to gay men that straight men usually do not have to worry about, and if your doctor is unaware of them you’re not getting the care that you need.
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association) for years has been the leader in connecting LGBTQ patients with health professionals who identify as competent and compassionate. This FREE directory is available online at index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=939&grandparentID=534&parentID=938&nodeID=1. Users are not required to enter any identifying information to search the director for primary care providers, medical specialists, behavioral health professionals, dentists, and others.
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