This blog post was created through discussion over the past year among various payers, federal entities, providers, quality organizations, and HL7 staff with a focus on the importance of standardized data collection and management of race and ethnicity data. The discussion below represents a synthesis of these themes and identifies ways HL7 can help support the field.
High-quality, reliable, data are key to facilitating achievement of health equity, “the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health”. This includes the collection, analysis and sharing of race and ethnicity data. However, misaligned approaches to standardized data collection present challenges to action. In addition, many organizations lack awareness of or experience challenges in applying standards when collecting and exchanging such data. In this blog, we explore existing resources that can help facilitate standardized data collection and management – HL7 is here to help.
The collection of high-quality race and ethnicity data is essential to address preventable differences - disparities - in health and healthcare. Such data are used to drive assessments, identify gaps, and the support decision-making that leads to actions to close gaps while improving outcomes. There are documented use cases by payers, providers, policymakers, and industry, for research, quality improvement and care delivery purposes. These use cases demonstrate how creating more inclusive datasets can support efforts to reduce health disparities and increase access to higher-quality care for historically marginalized communities. For example, race and ethnicity data can help provide transparency on disparate access to and uptake of services that can lead to targeted quality improvement and enhanced services for under-resourced populations. For this to occur, reliable, accurate, and consistent data are needed.