Healthcare Business News

HHS looks to more, better data collection to help reduce health disparities

By Paul Barr
Posted: April 8, 2011 - 12:00 pm ET

Data collection will play an important role in the nation's approach to reducing racial- and ethnic-minority health disparities, according to an HHS action plan and a stakeholder strategy plan released today.

One of the five overall goals of the HHS action plan is to implement a new health data collection and analysis strategy, as authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to HHS. In addition, improved data availability, coordination, utilization and diffusion of research and outcomes is one of five goals of the stakeholder strategy plan.

The issue of data collection "certainly is a priority for us," said Dr. Garth Graham, deputy assistant secretary for minority health in HHS' Office of Minority Health, speaking at a briefing in Washington to launch the action plan and the national stakeholder strategy. Data collection is found throughout the plans unveiled today, he said.

The other four overall goals of the action plan, called the "HHS Action Plan to Reduce Health Disparities," are to transform healthcare, strengthen the national health and human services workforce, advance the health and well-being of the public and increasing efficiency, transparency and accountability of HHS so that assessments of policies and programs on health disparities will become a part of all HHS decision-making.

The national stakeholder strategy, called the "National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity," also includes among its aims increasing awareness of health disparities, strengthening leadership for addressing health disparities, improving health for racial, ethnic and underserved populations and improving cultural and linguistic competency, as well as the diversity of the workforce.

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