While residents of Connecticut’s minority communities face significant disparities in health outcomes compared to white state residents, there has been no consistency or standardization of Race, Ethnicity and Language (REL) data collection. A new state law requires, among other things, that providers and state entities collect REL data using standard categories. A new report from the CT Health Foundation provides a roadmap for that data collection but also includes best practices to ensure that the data is used to improve health equity. Well-researched, the Roadmap doesn’t ignore Connecticut’s challenges, acknowledging patient concerns about privacy and provider skepticism about Connie, our state’s health information exchange. The consultants spent time interviewing and listening to Connecticut sources, and the report reflects that. Definitely worth reading.
The very comprehensive Roadmap is built on best practices from successful systems in other states. It includes seven stages including monitoring, too often left out of implementation planning, addressing community concerns, and concrete mechanisms to use the data at the clinical and state levels to improve the health of Connecticut’s underserved communities. The Roadmap includes very specific guidance such as sample scripts to use with patients to collect data and explain the purpose.