The Challenge

Across the nation, gaps in health are expansive, persistent and increasing—many of them caused by structural barriers and social determinants of health at all levels of our society. Health equity is achieved when everyone can attain their full potential for health and well-being. Collecting valid and reliable patient demographic data is essential for identifying where disparities exist, directing efforts and resources to address disparities as they are identified, measuring progress toward achieving greater equity, and establishing accountability for achieving progress. Without adequate data, inequities remain unseen and unaddressed.

What We Do

Our Solution

HCIF launched the Health Equity Data Strategy (HEDS) Collaborative in 2021, bringing together health care organizations across Southeastern Pennsylvania with the common goal of decreasing disparities in health outcomes in our communities. The collaborative allows hospitals to come together and discuss best practices and challenges related to the collection, stratification, and utilization of race, ethnicity, and language (REaL) and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data in order to identify and address disparities in care and outcomes. Through the implementation of a “health equity data strategy,” organizations are better positioned to identify disparities and implement strategies for creating equitable care. 


Program Impact

5 webinars and workshops convened to discuss topics including foundations of collecting REaL and SOGI data, using data to identify disparities, patient engagement, and workforce training

A multidisciplinary Advisory panel made up of 10 experts (including a Patient Advocate) representing 8 regional health care organizations

The HEDS SOGI Survey was administered in June 2023, and was completed by 6 participating hospitals/healthsystems. Findings included:

  • 83% of survey respondents collect SOGI and Sex Assigned at Birth (SAAB) data from at least some of their patients
  • 83% of survey respondents do not stratify safety or quality measures by SOGI data

The HEDS Baseline Survey was administered in Fall 2021, and was completed by 8 participating hospitals/healthsystems. Findings included:

  • 100% survey participants collect self-reported race data from patients
  • 13% of survey respondents engage patients and families in REaL data collection

“Serving as an advisor for the HEDS collaborative has offered a unique opportunity to locally collaborate towards the development and enhancement of data collection and stratification initiatives that could help identify and reduce health disparities. Though functioning as individual institutions, collectively, the HEDS member organizations’ goal is simple – improving health outcomes for all by focusing efforts on where the greatest opportunities exist. One of the greatest strengths of this Collaborative is the forum it creates to foster collaboration through shared learning. I look forward to collective action to support hospitals in this region to take tangible steps to improving health outcomes.”

– Shonalie Roberts, MHA, ARM, LSSGB, System Director of Health Equity at Main Line Health; HEDS Advisor

Program Details

For more information, please contact Liz Owens,

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