Management research to provide operational advice on improving quality, reducing costs and eliminating disparities.
Racial and socioeconomic inequity persists in health care quality. An exploratory interview with three hospitals substantiated by a review of the literature reveals that hospitals are collecting race, ethnicity, and primary language data about their patients. Leading hospitals are now moving beyond data collection to analyzing and using the data to develop targeted interventions for improving access to care for underserved populations. All hospitals are encouraged to follow their lead and, in an era of greater emphasis on community health improvement, devote the necessary resources and infrastructure to use their data in efforts to overcome disparities in care.
The exploratory interviews did identify key strategies that hospitals have adopted to streamline the data collection process:
Key Strategies for Collecting Patient Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data
A review of literature highlighted several approaches for using the patient data collected by hospitals:
Leading Practices for Using Patient Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data
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.