This is How You Get Bad Data

Ok, the three options for Ethnicity are NOT, "Decline to Identify", "Hispanic or Latino" and "Other".

And you certainly don't look at someone (like my red haired spouse) and decide they must be White and "Decline to Identify" without speaking to him. You don't know.


The oddest part is that they would have Decline to Identify on this but NOT on Marital Status or Veteran Status. Veteran Status is treated as PII (personally identifying information) by the Feds for a reason. Veterans, especially those from Vietnam, may not want anyone with access to their records to know their veteran status. This shouldn't be a required field. By requiring it you may end up with false negatives--- resulting in missed connections between international travel and/or chemical exposure and whatever the patient has.

Ditto a woman seeking treatment for almost anything reproductive may not want to reveal her marital status.

There are a million reasons to not answer these questions with the choices available.

In other words, don't force answers where they aren't needed... and ask about the answers otherwise. The answer for "we didn't ask" should be "not answered"... which is different than "declined to identify". (Putting declined all over the place in medical records is asking for the patient to be labeled as difficult.)

These may seem like minor gripes, but in two years someone will try to do some analysis and be completely unable to because 65% of patients (or so) are "Declined" and 15% of the vets didn't mark the box...

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