photo top HRET Disparities Toolkit
A toolkit for collecting race, ethnicity, and primary language information from patients.
spacer spacer spacer

Collecting the Data - The Nuts and Bolts


We recommend collecting race, ethnicity and disability information directly from patients or their caregivers. This information should be collected only once and periodically validated, preferably in two year intervals. Repeated collection should be avoided to reduce the burden both for patients and for staff responsible for collecting the information. Once this information is collected, it should be stored in an electronic format when possible.

In addition, if a patient refuses to answer questions, the registration staff should move on with the registration process and record "declined" in the field indicating that the patient did not want to answer this question. Providing information is completely voluntary, and staff should recognize when people feel uncomfortable or explicitly state that they do not want to respond to these questions.

We have designed this Toolkit to serve as a resource for hospitals and health care organizations. The primary components of race and ethnicity data collection that should be considered standard practice include the following:

  1. Collect data directly from the patient or from a designated representative.
  2. Provide a rationale or reason for why this information is being collected.
  3. Depending on the capacity of your organization, decide whether you will be providing broad or granular categories. If using predefined categories, decide whether you will be using the bare minimum, such as OMB, or whether you will be providing more granular categories. (Information about both broad categories and granular categories is listed in the section ""Which Categories to Use.")

Look to the blue Links column to the right for helpful resources.

<< Prev Page  |  Next Page >>



Keep Posted!
Sign up if you would like us to keep you informed regarding updates to the Disparities Toolkit and this web site. We will not share your information with anyone.


community connections
community connections
HRET (in partnership with AHA)
This Web site contains links to sites that are not owned or maintained by the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) or the American
Hospital Association (AHA). HRET and AHA are not responsible for the content of linked sites and the views expressed on non-HRET/AHA
linked sites do not necessarily reflect the views of the Health Research and Educational Trust or the American Hospital Association.