Why We Ask

We ask because we care!

As a Henry Ford patient, you will be asked more detailed information about your race, ethnic background and preferred language. This will help Henry Ford better care for our diverse community.

What does this mean?

  • When you check in at your appointment, a registration employee will ask you more detailed questions about your race, ethnicity and preferred language. This should only take a few extra minutes.
  • Better patient data will help Henry Ford monitor patient diseases and conditions by race and ethnicity, and improve the quality of care we can provide to diverse patient populations.
  • Henry Ford will use the information to ensure the availability of language interpretation services, appropriate patient education materials and to track data to improve patient care quality.

FAQs about collecting patient race, ethnicity and primary language data


1. Why is collection of patients' race, ethnicity and primary language data important?

Data currently available on patients' race, ethnicity and primary language are limited or inaccurate. These data are critical to documenting our progress in the elimination of disparities in health care and improving the quality of care.

2. What are health care disparities?

Health care disparities refer to differences in health services provided that may be based on race, ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, education, or geographical location of residence. Henry Ford wants to continue to improve healthcare quality -- providing care that does not vary by any personal characteristics.

3. If I have been seeing my doctor or provider for years, don't they have this information already?

We may have the information already, but in some instances we do not. We want to make sure we have the correct information for everyone so we can continue to ensure that everyone is getting the best quality of care regardless race or ethnicity.

4. Who sees this information?

Registration staff, hospital administrators and the people involved in quality improvement. All patient information collected by Henry Ford is confidential and protected by the HIPAA law.

5. What if I don't want to answer the race/ethnicity questions?

Answering these questions is voluntary, but will help Henry Ford better serve each individual patient. This information is increasingly being required by the agencies that provide hospital accreditation nationwide, and will make it possible to monitor the nation's progress in providing high quality care to all patients.

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Henry Ford Health is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email [email protected].

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