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Improving the quality of care for all patients and eliminating health care disparities are central challenges facing our health care system.As emphasized by two Institute of Medicine reports the need for better data about patients' race, ethnicity, and primary language is critical.The Toolkit is designed to help hospitals, health systems, community health centers, medical group practices, health plans, and other users understand the importance of collecting accurate data on race, ethnicity, and primary language of persons with limited English proficiency and/or who are deaf or hard of hearing.By using this Toolkit, health care organizations can assess their organizational capacity to collect this information and implement a systematic framework designed specifically for obtaining race, ethnicity, and primary language data directly from patients/enrollees or their caregivers in an efficient, effective, and respectful manner.Efforts to improve health care delivery require working with key staff.Leaders can be most effective by helping others develop the abilities and tools to create the best responses to problems and opportunities.

Each new wave of immigration provides a reminder of these challenges and opportunities.Patients should understand why they are being asked to provide information about their racial and ethnic background and primary language.Providers do not want to alienate patients by asking these questions, so it is important to explain why the information is being collected and how it will be used ("to ensure that everyone receives the highest quality of care").Health care leaders are charged with advancing and managing individual organizational priorities.As hospitals and health care organizations work toward serving diverse populations, leaders must recognize the importance of understanding the unique characteristics of the communities they serve.

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