Study: Better data collection would help ease disparities

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 18, 2006

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Health care organizations that collect race, ethnicity and language data are more likely to design programs targeting disparities in care, but many hospitals don't collect data or do it poorly, according to an August Health Services Research study.

Many health care organizations mistakenly believe that tracking such information about their patients is illegal, and those that do collect it often rely on staff observation, a method the authors say is suboptimal.

Physicians and other health professionals are frequently reluctant to ask patients about their backgrounds, so the authors suggest health care organizations design a script explaining that the information will be used to improve the quality of care.

The authors, David W. Baker, MD, MPH, of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and Romana Hasnain-Wynia, PhD, of the Health Research and Educational Trust, also say hospitals should let patients self-identify race, ethnicity and language, rather than pick from a list.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn