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Step 5: Achieve Meaningful Use Stage 1

Record Demographics


Record all of the following demographics:

  1. Preferred language
  2. Gender
  3. Race
  4. Ethnicity
  5. Date of birth


More than 50 percent of all unique patients seen by the eligible professional have demographics recorded as structured data.

Changes as of August 2012:

In EP, eligible hospital and CAH objectives for recording demographics, CMS has made a change in terminology for the final rule using the term sex instead of gender. This change in terminology also aligns with vital statistic reporting and the HHS final demographic data collection standards published October 31, 2011.

Clinical Importance

Efficient practice management requires capturing accurate demographic information (name, address, sex, insurance, etc.). Maintaining this data is essential for accurate billing and provides an opportunity to look at your practice results in performance in terms of these demographic groups (i.e. age, sex, race, etc.).

CMS Resources

The following resources are available to help you meet the Record Demographics meaningful use core measure:

Related CMS EHR Incentive Program Frequently Asked Questions

Lessons from the Field

 "The key to implementing the recording demographics meaningful use requirement is to ensure that the practice workflow is adjusted appropriately to capture all of the necessary data."

Teresa Ansell, Clinical Coordinator, West Virginia Regional Health Information Technology Extension Center (WVRHITEC) 

To ensure demographic information is populated within the EHR and is all inclusive, implementers in the field have created a demographic questionnaire, which collects all necessary data for patient registration including the data needed to satisfy this requirement. The form is filled out during patient check-in and entered into the EHR by the front desk staff, ensuring the practice meets this meaningful use requirement by getting the right information into the EHR during the check-in process.

"To get patient self-identified demographics, we focused on improving customer service at the point of registration by coaching staff on data collection and asking the right questions."

Kevin Larsen, MD, Assistant Professor, Hennepin County Medical Center

To ensure accurate demographic data is collected, registration staff are coached on ways to ask questions. A script can be developed to guide registration staff on ways to ask the questions and engage patients in self-identifying demographic data.  With close to 100% compliance on demographic data collection and a practice management system that links up to the EHR, the data collected provides a unique opportunity to look at health disparities.

National Learning Consortium Resources

The NLC resources are examples of tools that are used in the field today, and that are recommended by “boots-on-the-ground” professionals. The NLC, in partnership with HealthIT.gov, shares this collective EHR implementation knowledge and resources throughout this site.

National Learning Consortium Resources
Resource NameDescriptionSource

Quality Improvement in Medicaid Managed Care Toolkit



Toolkit that identifies members of racial and ethnic subgroups to measure gaps in care and to explore ways to improve health care quality.

Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc. (CHCS)

The material in these guides and tools represents the collective EHR implementation experiences and knowledge gained directly from the field of ONC’s outreach programs (REC, Beacon, State HIE) and through the Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC) Communities of Practice (CoPs) in their performance of technical support and EHR implementation assistance to primary care providers. The information contained in these resources is not intended to serve as legal advice nor should it substitute for legal counsel. The resource list is not exhaustive, and readers are encouraged to seek additional detailed technical guidance to supplement the information contained herein.

Reference in this web site to any specific resources, tools, products, process, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Related CMS EHR Incentive Program Frequently Asked Questions

For additional questions around meaningful use, visit the CMS EHR Incentive Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


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