In a bid to address inequities in the U.S. health system, the Data Equity Coalition has released a series of issue briefs advocating for standardized data collection methods. The coalition emphasizes the importance of standardizing data around race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability status to improve health outcomes, particularly in historically underserved communities.

The call for standardized data collection comes amidst significant disparities in healthcare access and outcomes faced by marginalized racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and LGBTQ+ communities. These communities often experience higher rates of birth complications, encounter barriers to accessing mental health care, and are more likely to die from treatable conditions. The coalition asserts that without clear data standards, these disparities will persist.

Recognizing the need for progress, the Office of Management and Budget recently published revised federal standards for maintaining, collecting, and presenting data on race and ethnicity. However, the coalition argues that more work is needed to better reflect the evolving demographics of the U.S. population.

Among the recommendations put forth by the Data Equity Coalition are measures to ensure gender identity data accurately reflects non-cisgender individuals, disaggregation of race and ethnicity data to maximize inclusivity, and routine monitoring of indicators related to maternal health outcomes. Additionally, the coalition stresses the importance of robust cybersecurity standards to safeguard collected data from breaches and hacks.

Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP., Chief Medical Officer for Prevention at the American Heart Association, a participating organization, comments: “If we can see it, we can address it. Data disaggregation allows us to detect differences, if they exist, between and within populations, and to design policies and programs that can help eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity.”

The release of these issue briefs marks a crucial step towards promoting health equity through data equity. By advocating for standardized data collection methods, the Data Equity Coalition aims to ensure that every individual receives equitable access to quality healthcare, regardless of their background or identity.

Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment