Eliminating Racial/Ethnic Disparities In Health Care: Can Health Plans Generate Reports?

Organization: 
Health Affairs
Author: 
Nerenz, David R.
Author: 
Bonham, Vence L.
Author: 
Green-Weir, Robbya
Author: 
Joseph, Christine
Author: 
Gunter, Margaret
Published Date: 
2002

The absence of data on race and ethnicity in health plan and provider databases is a significant barrier in the creation and use of quality-of-care reports for patients of minority groups. A study published in Health Affairs and supported by The Commonwealth Fund and the Health Resources and Services Administration demonstrated that health plans are able to collect and analyze quality-of-care data by race and ethnicity. The results suggest that, until direct methods of getting racial and ethnic data can be implemented, health plans can still obtain such data through one or more existing sources: Medicaid enrollment files, medical record data, self-reported items in surveys, and surname-recognition software.

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