Standardizing the Collection of Race, Ethnicity and Language Data

The standardization of patient race, ethnicity and language (R/E/L) data collection is a cornerstone of the Aligning Forces for Quality Hospital Quality Network. This webpage provides guidance and resources necessary for participating hospitals to implement this change within their institution.

  Title Description Link or Download
1. Frequently Asked Questions This document provides questions posed by hospitals and answers that may help as you standardize patient R/E/L data collection. It will be updated periodically with new content. Download
2. Hospital Staff Training Materials This slide deck and talking points are for hospitals to use when training their registration staff. Both the slides and talking points should be customized to meet the needs of the institution. Download
3. Who Needs to be Engaged? This document will help you decide who needs to be engaged in order to make all the necessary changes to collect—and use—standardized race, ethnicity and language data. Download
4. Race, Ethnicity Language Categories and Definitions The R/E/L categories document provides explanations and definitions for each of the minimum categories that will be used. Download
  Optional Granular Categories In addition to collecting data in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) race and ethnicity categories, organizations should also collect granular ethnicity data using categories that are representative of the population served. Not all organizations collecting granular ethnicity data will need to include the entire national standard set of categories in their databases or on their data collection instruments. Rather, organizations should select categories from the set that are applicable to their service population. Link
5. Legislative and Regulatory Levers to Collect Race, Ethnicity and Language Data This two-pager summarizes the legislative policies and regulatory standards of 2009 and 2010 that relate to the health care system and the collection of patient race, ethnicity and language data. The information is particularly relevant to hospitals. Download
6. Sample Scripts This tool provides the suggested order for asking the race, ethnicity, and language questions and a script as developed by the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET). Download
7. Patient Response Matrix This tool provides sample responses for registration staff to refer to when patients respond in ways that may be challenging to handle initially. Download




We Ask Because We Care Posters/Tent Cards


These tools are to use and display in registration, waiting areas, cafeteria, and more in the hospital to let patients know that they will be asked for their race, ethnicity and language during registration. Each are available in English and Spanish, in two color schemes and can be customized with your institution's logo. Instructions for inserting your logo are attached here.

Tent Card - Spanish (blue)
Tent Card- Spanish (red)
Tent Card - English (blue)
Tent Card - English (red) Poster - Spanish (blue)
Poster - Spanish (red)
Poster - English (blue)
Poster - English (red)

9. I Speak Poster/Card This "I Speak" poster/card can help hospitals meet the language needs of patients who cannot communicate with registration or scheduling staff. This resource is one example of an "I Speak" resource. Download
10. Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data: Standardization for Health Care Quality Improvement The Institute of Medicine’ 2009 report, Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data: Standardization for Health Care Quality Improvement, addresses data collection challenges and proposes a framework for moving forward with standardized data collection across health care entities. This report proposes templates of ethnicity and language categories for national adoption so that entities wishing to collect data can do so in systematic, uniform ways. Link
11. Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) Disparities Toolkit The Health Research and Educational Trust Disparities Toolkit is a Web-based tool that provides hospitals, health systems, clinics, and health plans information and resources for systematically collecting race, ethnicity, and primary language data from patients. The Toolkit is useful for educating and informing your staff about the importance of data collection, how to implement a framework to collect race, ethnicity, and primary language data at your organization, and ultimately how to use these data to improve quality of care for all populations. Link
12. Sample Meditech Report
During the second R/E/L training webinar, Dave Anderson Patient Access Services Director from Erie County Medical Center Corporation in Buffalo, NY, mentioned that his hospital uses Meditech. As mentioned during the webinar, he has shared a sample report generated in-house via Meditech using the custom-designed screen environment because it was the best way to work within the Meditech system. The reports are generated periodically to monitor the R/E/L data collected by the hospital.
Download Report

Download Instructions