Biases and stigmatizing language, whether consciously or subconsciously, in the electronic health record (EHR) can be reflected through negative physical or behavioral descriptors of patients, often related to race and ethnicity. Biased language in the EHR can negatively influence a patient’s care across providers.

This tool outlines considerations for providers on how to write EHR notes that promote patient-centered care and dignity, include: (1) trusting patients and avoiding communicating disbelief; (2) being mindful when using quotes; (3) learning to recognize and avoid stigmatizing language; (4) focusing on positive themes and humanizing details; and (5) educating providers and providers-in-training.

The tool is a product of Accelerating Child Health Transformation, a national initiative led by the Center for Health Care Strategies with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that seeks to accelerate the adoption of key elements necessary to advance family-centered pediatric practice.

Posted: June 2023