Overcoming Barriers to Collecting Data on Patient Race, Ethnicity, and Language

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<p>Hospitals and health care organizations that collect data on patients' race, ethnicity, and primary language are more likely to address disparities than those without such information. Yet, a new Fund-supported study finds data collection efforts are inconsistent across health care organizations, hampered by a widespread lack of understanding about the most effective strategies.<br><br>In "<a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=23939&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D399579%26%23doc399579">Obtaining Data on Patient Race, Ethnicity, and Primary Language in Health Care Organizations: Current Challenges and Proposed Solutions</a>" (<em>Health Services Research,</em> Aug. 2006), Romana Hasnain-Wynia, Ph.D., of the Health Research and Educational Trust, and David W. Baker, M.D., M.P.H., of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, argue that health care organizations should collect race, ethnicity, and language information directly from patients or their family members, as opposed to relying on staff observation.<br><br>To address patient concerns about how race and ethnicity information will be used, and to ensure the accurate collection of data, the authors offer a uniform framework for data collection. By using such a framework, health care organizations can develop appropriate interpreter services, educational materials, and staff cultural competency training--as well as undertake targeted quality improvement efforts.</p>