Collecting Race, Ethnicity and Primary Language Data in Physician Practices

The Minnesota Community Measurement Experience

The Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative emphasizes the importance of reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health care as a key component of improving health care quality in 17 communities across the country. A major barrier to eliminating disparities in care is the lack of reliable race, ethnicity, and primary language data of patients within health care organizations.

Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM), a community-based nonprofit organization comprising representatives from Minnesota’s state medical associations, medical groups, hospitals, local businesses, health plans and consumer groups, is participating in the AF4Q program. As part of its efforts to improve quality and reduce disparities in care, MNCM is working with medical groups in Minnesota to standardize the collection of race, ethnicity, and primary language data. This research summary highlights MNCM’s efforts to incorporate systematic data collection in physician practices to reduce disparities and improve quality.