The Commission to End Health Care Disparities has issued a white paper on Collecting and Using Race, Ethnicity and Language Data in Ambulatory Settings. The Commission to End Health Care Disparities is led by a Secretariat of the American Medical Association, National Medical Association and National Hispanic Medical Association, and includes over 70 state and specialty medical societies and aligned organizations.
The white paper notes that “to eliminate disparities in care one must first be able to detect them. Detecting disparities requires three steps:
- Collect valid and reliable data on the demographic characteristics of patients receiving care
- Collect valid and reliable data on the quality of care delivered
- Stratify the quality data by the relevant demographic subgroups.”
The white paper describes the rationale for collecting demographic data, explains methods to overcome potential barriers to collecting such demographic data and examines ways to overcome potential barriers to using demographic data for quality improvement. The paper concludes with specific recommendations for collecting and using demographic data for quality improvement in ambulatory settings.