Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Author: Shilpa Patel, Center for Health Care Strategies; Scott Cook, Elizabeth Durkin, Jaclyn Martin, University of Chicago; Kim Tuck, Institute for Medicaid Innovation

January 2021 | Brief


Unless specifically measured, disparities in health and health care can go unnoticed even as providers, health plans, and government organizations seek to improve care. Stratifying quality data by patient race, ethnicity, language and other demographic variables such as age, sex, health literacy, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and geography is an important tool for uncovering and responding to health care disparities.

The original version of this brief, produced for the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, focused primarily on how health care providers can use data to reduce disparities and improve quality. This updated brief builds on the original by exploring strategies that can assist multi-stakeholder coalitions consisting of state Medicaid agencies, health plans, providers, and community-based organizations in organizing and interpreting data to improve health equity. This updated resource is a product of Advancing Health Equity: Leading Care, Payment and Systems Transformation, a national program based at the University of Chicago operated in partnership with the Center for Health Care Strategies and the Institute for Medicaid Innovation, and made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.