Getting the Data Right to Address Disparities in Health Care in New Jersey

    • August 27, 2009

Hospitals often miscount or miscode data on patients' race and ethnicity, making it difficult to address disparities in health care treatment. Staff at the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET), the research and education arm of the New Jersey Hospital Association, worked with New Jersey hospitals to improve the procedures hospital staff uses to collect data about patients' race and ethnicity.

Key Results

  • Project staff revised the categories for coding racial and ethnic data, added a category for patients' primary language and designed standard guidelines and protocols for data collection specific to New Jersey. According to the grantee organization, the state mandated the use of the new protocols for collection of data about patients' race and ethnicity in January 2007 and about primary language in January 2008.
  • Project staff created a curriculum to train those who work in patient admissions and registration in the use of the new protocols. They introduced the curriculum through a statewide conference attended by 100 hospital workers, three regional workshops on-site consultations. As of January 2009, they had distributed over 300 train-the-trainer manuals, 1,000 reference toolkits for registrars and over 200 instructional videos, far more than anticipated.
  • Project staff developed an online course designed for registration staff to receive ongoing interactive Web-based training on standardized protocols for collecting race, ethnicity and primary language data during patient registration.