The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has published a Health IT Standards Bulletin describing the capabilities that certified health information technology (HIT) must demonstrate for capturing and exchanging patient race and ethnicity data. Certified HIT must be able to record race and ethnicity at a detailed level of granularity consistent with the race and ethnicity code system used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC code system includes over 900 concepts for race and ethnicity, which are organized to roll up to the Office of Management and Budget minimum categories for race and ethnicity.


Certified HIT must be capable of recording each of a patient's race and ethnicity codes in a manner that most closely aligns to how the patient self-identifies. A certified HIT module must also be able to record whether a patient chose not to provide information for race, ethnicity or both. The certification criteria do not specify how many of the CDC code sets must be displayed in the certified HIT demographics module; this is to be determined by the developers in concert with the end users.

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