Why Collect Data Using a Uniform Framework
We recommend the following practices for standardizing race, ethnicity, and primary language data collection in health care organizations:
Who provides the information
Information should always be provided by patients or their caretakers. It should never be done by observation alone.
When to collect
Collection should take place upon admission or patient registration to ensure appropriate fields are completed when the patient begins treatment (for plans, at enrollment).
What racial and ethnic categories should be used
Start with the U.S. Census or the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) categories. Health care organizations can provide more granular categories (to use for internal purposes), but these granular categories should have the capacity to be aggregated to the broader OMB categories for reporting purposes.
Where should data be stored
Data should be stored in a standard electronic format for easy linking to clinical data.
Concerns should be addressed up front and clearly, prior to obtaining information.
Employers need to provide ongoing training and evaluation to staff.
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