Importance of Sharing Race, Ethnicity and Language

Why Physicians Should Provide Personal Race and Ethnicity Data  

Open enrollment has come to an end and many of your practices will see an influx of new patients. New patients add to the vast diversity within WHA’s population, so it is more important than ever to have clinics with providers who can relate and communicate in culturally competent ways. When members peruse the provider directory in search of a new doctor, they are currently able to choose an office where staff and doctors speak the same language. While language plays a significant role in patient-physician interactions, the influence of race and ethnicity on these interpersonal relationships often goes unaddressed. 

Racial and ethnic bias in health care is prevalent and has a negative effect on health outcomes by potentially increasing health care disparities. However, there is good news for the future. When patients are given the option to choose a practitioner of the same race or ethnic background or speak the same language, they feel greater comfort and trust1. Also, research shows that racially and ethnically concordant patient-physician pairs tend to improve the patient experience2. Additional benefits of increasing a patient’s comfort level and satisfaction are improved compliance with the plan of care which leads to improved health outcomes, and the reduction of health care disparities.

Providing members with the ability to choose a provider who shares the same race and/or ethnicity is a monumental step. Unfortunately, the capture rate of the race and ethnicity of our network providers is only 1.3%. Although supplying race and ethnicity data is voluntary, in order to give members an informed choice for who provides their health care this data is absolutely needed.  Please help give your patients a choice they deserve, contact your medical group today to ensure they have your race and ethnicity on record.   


1Hopkins Tanne J. (2002). Patients are more satisfied with care from doctors of the same race. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 325(7372), 1057.
2Study Finds Patients Prefer Doctors Who Share Their Same Race/Ethnicity. (2020, November 09). Retrieved from Penn Medicine News: