Health Equity

November 15, 2022

Race & Ethnicity fields changed in eStar

Update on Nov. 17: This change has been delayed until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Beginning soon, employees will see significant changes within the Race and Ethnicity fields within eStar. This information is typically collected as part of the inpatient registration process, as well as when new patients make appointments with a Vanderbilt Health provider. eStar also prompts front desk and access employees to review/update this information with existing patients on a regular basis.

Selections within the current Race and Ethnicity fields have been updated to align with both best practices in health care, national research on how patients prefer to self-identify, and guidance from the Office of Health Equity. Some patients may need to update this information in these two existing fields based on their previous selections.

A new field, “Detailed Ethnicity,” has been added. This new field has 91 different options, and patients may select as many they would like.

Accurate information regarding a patient’s race and ethnicity helps Vanderbilt ensure we are providing the highest quality of care to all our patients, knowing that health can be impacted by a patient’s background, identity, and language. This information also helps us work toward greater health equity for our patients, mitigating against any systemic, unfair, and unjust difference in health outcomes across various identifiers, including race and ethnicity. By collecting this information with a greater level of specificity, we can better track our progress towards addressing health inequities.

These changes to the Race and Ethnicity fields within eStar reflect work that is part of the larger Racial Equity plan at VUMC—employees and others can learn more about the plan at

Employees should refer to the Tip Sheet “Indicating Patient Race and Ethnicity” (available in Hubbl) for more information. In addition to the new eStar navigation, the Tip Sheet provides some suggested scripting to help guide these discussions with patients.

A learning module will soon be available in the Learning Exchange to help employees better understand the importance of gathering this information and how best to have these discussions with patients.

These same changes are duplicated within My Health at Vanderbilt, allowing patients to update this information on their own. In partnership with Patient Education and Marketing and Engagement, the Office of Health Equity will be launching a patient-facing “We Ask Because We Care” campaign, focusing on the importance of high-quality race, ethnicity, and language data and encouraging use of My Health at Vanderbilt.