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Keywords:

  • Racial/ethnic differences in health and health care;
  • health care organizations and systems;
  • demography;
  • survey research and questionnaire design;
  • quality of care/patient safety (measurement)

Objective. To collect patient race/ethnicity and language (r/e/l) in an ambulatory care setting.

Data Sources/Study Setting. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), December 2006–May 2008.

Study Design. Three pilot studies: (1) Comparing mail versus telephone versus clinic visit questionnaire distribution; (2) comparing the front desk method (FDM) versus exam room method (ERM) in the clinic visit; and (3) determining resource allocation necessary for data entry.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods. Studies were planned and executed by PAMF's Quality and Planning division.

Principal Findings. Collecting r/e/l data during clinic visits elicited the highest response rate. The FDM yielded higher response rate than the ERM. One full-time equivalent is initially necessary for data entry.

Conclusions. Conducting sequential studies can help guide r/e/l collection in a short time frame.