Respecting and Representing All Genders in a Healthy Workforce Program: Example from Kaiser Permanente

I’ve been given permission to share what I consider a great innovation in respect, that wasn’t my idea 🙂 .

GoKP is the Healthy Workforce program for Kaiser Permanente’s 175,000 employees. Shira Potash, MS, part of Kaiser Permanente Healthy Workforce, within our National Human Resources organization, approached myself and several others about leveraging our human centered design work around the transgender person health experience.

The result is a portal with multiple choices for gender as you can see below. This portal is hosted internally, which is why I’m reproducing this screen shot here.

GoKP HealthyWorkforce Demographics Screen shot

In consultation with our national LGBTQ Multicultural Business Resource Group, KP-Pride, these choices were created. It’s worth noting that “Other” is not an option to promote respect of all genders. For people who practice in gender medicine, it’s also worth noting that this is not a clinical system and this data is not meant for clinical decision making or workforce development, so less detail is needed than would be required in those situations.

There’s a well known caution that people give when posting or publishing anything about people who are transgender – “don’t look at the comments.” In this case, with this screen visible to 175,000 staff across the country, many of whom don’t practice in gender medicine, the potential for confusion was large. Shira did indeed receive some feedback, so to assist staff, this additional information has been included as a popup:

GoKP Popup - inclusion

Kaiser Permanente is committed to diversity and inclusion. To be inclusive of ALL employees, Healthy Workforce has included additional gender identity choices to the binary male/female gender selections on the Go KP registration process. These choices accomodate people who are transgender or gender non-conforming. The list of options was generated and approved by the KP Pride Advisory Group as well as Kaiser Permanente’s internal legal counsel. This section is completely voluntary and not required to complete the registration process. All demographic information is private and confidential. The data collected will only be used in aggregate form to understand the demographics and meet the needs of our user population.

I’m posting this because it shows

  • Innovation can happen anywhere
  • Health systems don’t have to wait to transform themselves all at once, every environment that is made more welcoming is welcomed 🙂
  • Leading from where you are, of innovation not just coming from physicians
  • Partnership – our Human Resources team shared the passion and the responsibility for building respect into this system and educating staff who had questions
  • This innovation will further the inclusion journey of cisgender and transgender staff in our organization by making people of all identities visible

Thanks, Shira and team, for showing that health care is a verb and everyone has the power to make it better.

Did I mention yet that I love it when things are not my idea?

1 Comment

Ted Eytan, MD