photo top HRET Disparities Toolkit
A toolkit for collecting race, ethnicity, and primary language information from patients.
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Who Should Use the Toolkit

Information Technology Department

The IT department and staff are key in implementing the framework for collecting patient race, ethnicity, and primary language data within a hospital or health system. IT staff can identify infrastructure capacity and needs and are best able to integrate the necessary elements of the framework (codes, fields, etc.) into existing systems or in modifying the systems that exist, if necessary. The most often asked questions or points of clarification for IT staff to consider include:

  • Is it possible to incorporate the actual script (for asking the questions) on the registration screen so front-line staff can explain or provide the rationale for why they are asking patients to provide information about their race and ethnicity?
  • Can a "declined" response category be added for those patients who do not want to answer this question and decline to do so (this is different than "unavailable")? Is it possible to flag these responses in different colors to make it easier for staff (e.g., "declined" indicates do not ask again and "unavailable" indicates ask again)?
  • Do the order of the questions matter (i.e., race before ethnicity question or vice versa)? Some hospitals could not change the order on the registration screens.
  • Will the old race/ethnicity data be purged or stored?
  • Can modifications be made to the fields to match the OMB categories?
  • Can a separate field for ethnicity be added (for those hospitals which only have a race field)?
  • Will all registration staff (in the hospital and those off-site) see the same registration screens once modifications are made?

The links to the right in the blue sidebar provide different coding schemes for race and ethnicity data. The staff training link provides one example of a registration system that has incorporated the framework for data collection.

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

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