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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Race and Ethnicity in Meaningful Use

Today a question crossed my desk about the vocabulary terms to support Race and Ethnicity specified in the Meaningful Use Standards rule and in the Incentives rule.  In short, the question was, what are the code values that I need to use to specify race and ethnicity.

The rules didn't say.  Instead, they reference an OMB directive that tells you the high level concepts that your terminology has to roll up to.

If you are looking for a terminology that works, look at the CDC Race and Ethnicity vocabulary.  This is THE vocabulary that is specified in the HITSP C32 Version 2.5 specification for how to use the CCD, and is the common vocabulary that appears in many other HITSP specifications.  You can utilize a value set just supporting the short list of OMB mandated categories, or you can drill down into more details.

Some states (such as Massachusetts), have mandated a deeper level of reporting for these concepts.  The CDC vocabulary supports that level of detail and yet remains consistent with the OMB guidelines.


BTW:  I made comments on these rules that they should be consistent with OMB guidelines.  I'm pleased to see those comments adopted in the final rules.