This “Guide for Hospital Leaders” from the Health Research and Education Trust, the research and education affiliate of the American Hospital Association, makes a leadership case for collecting and using demographic data to improve health equity.  The guide highlights:

Key Strategies for Collecting Patient Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data:

  1. Engage senior leadership
  2. Define goals for data collection
  3. Combine disparities data collection with existing reporting requirements
  4. Track and report progress on an organization-wide basis
  5. Build data collection into quality improvement initiatives
  6. Utilize national, regional, and state resources available
  7. Review, revise, and refine process and categories constantly

A review of literature highlighted several approaches for using the patient data collected by hospitals:

  1. Use an equity scorecard or dashboard to report organizational performance
  2. Inform and customize the language translation services you provide
  3. Review performance indicators such as length of stay, admissions, and avoidable readmissions
  4. Review process of care measures
  5. Review outcomes of care
  6. Analyze provision of certain preventive care

The guide concludes: “To meet the needs of their diverse populations, hospitals and health systems will need to bridge the gap between collecting meaningful patient data and reviewing the data to identify inequities in health care provision and utilization, and to implement simple yet effective interventions to improve care for patients.”

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