27 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Creating Inclusive Health Care Environments To Improve Patient Demographic Data Collection

Author: mohec-admin

The Center for Health Policy at the University of Missouri is working with the Missouri Hospital Association and Missouri Primary Care Association to get a better understanding of how we are collecting patient information around race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and gender identity. The goal is to eliminate health disparities and create inclusive health care environments.

Research showed multiple barriers in collecting the data accurately:

  • Patient barriers:
    • Fear of differential treatment or of receiving lower quality care
    • Not understanding why the data is collected and how it is used
    • Fear of breach in privacy and confidentiality
  • Staff barriers:
  • Lack of comfort in asking patients, so staff is using observation and guessing
    • Lack of training in addressing patient questions and concerns
    • Lack of training in discussing our various social identities, like race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and gender identity

With the funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health, we are able to work with Missouri hospitals and community health centers and train staff and providers on data collection best practices. The trainings are free and tailored to each individual hospital clinic or department.

  1. Learning objectives:
    1. Build knowledge and awareness around social identities like race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, etc.
    2. Understand the importance of accurately collecting identity data and what the data is being utilized for.
    3. Practice effective communication skills
    4. Practice skills to be aware when identity and culture influence situations and how to take action to positively impact patient experiences
  2. Resources and tools we can provide:
    1. Scripts to use when collecting the data
    2. Patient response matrix
    3. Educational materials for your staff and patients
    4. Demographic categories definitions
  3. Trainings can take different forms:
    1. One-day Building Inclusive Clinics training
    2. Half-day trainings
    3. One hour sessions tailored to your community health center specific needs

In order to achieve inclusive health care environments, health care professionals and staff need to explore how identity and culture shape experiences in the health care setting. It is also important to learn how identity and culture underlie situations that often go unnoticed in health care workplaces. This proactive, inclusive approach empowers health care providers and staff address health disparities and will increasingly be considered a crucial skill in the health care sector.

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