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.

Related Webinar

Words Matter: How Language Used in Health Care Settings Can Impact the Quality of Pediatric Care

This related webinar examined the impacts of conscious and unconscious provider bias, particularly as expressed through written and verbal communication. Speakers explored the power of language in medical settings and its impact on health disparities for historically stigmatized groups and shared opportunities to improve trust between patients, families, and care providers. Learn More