The importance of quality ethnicity data

Picture of a diverse crowd
NSU supports ongoing improvement in the accuracy of data.
Good quality ethnicity data helps us to assess population health over time, monitor service performance, and plan and target services. Data received from screening programmes helps ensure they can achieve equitable outcomes for all populations.

However, ethnicity data held in health databases is known to be of varying quality and often results in undercounting of Māori, Pacific and other non-New Zealand European ethnic groups. The National Screening Unit therefore supports ongoing improvement in the accuracy of data and following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines.

The Ministry's Ethnicity Data Protocols for the Health and Disability Sector outline the standards for collecting, recording and outputting ethnicity data. The standards can be downloaded here.

In 2013, the Ministry published the Primary Care Ethnicity Data Audit Toolkit, a useful tool for those in primary care, particularly cervical screening, to assess the quality of ethnicity data and the systems that support it. The toolkit can be downloaded here.

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Page last updated: 29 October 2014