The NHS Race and Health Observatory is consulting with the public on how best to collectively refer to black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.
The independent body, set up by the NHS to tackle inequalities experienced by ethnic minorities in England, said it is already committed to avoiding initialisms and acronyms where possible.
But it said it recognises that “there will sometimes be a need” to refer to all communities who are not part of the White British ethnic group.
It has launched a four-week survey for views on which collective terminology should be used, which will close on August 10.
It will be followed by a series of roundtable discussions to explore preferences more deeply.
Sam Rodger, senior strategy and policy lead at the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said: “Language is powerful, and the terms we use when talking about ethnic identity in healthcare can have a real impact on communities.
“Using simplistic language can lead to grouping together diverse communities and limiting the impact of healthcare interventions.”
He added: “While it may be difficult to find language and terminology that is welcomed by everybody, we want to be led by the communities we work with instead of imposing our views on others.
“This is an important step in informing how we speak about ethnic identity, but we also accept that language evolves, and this will not be the end of the conversation.
“We will always be open to having frank discussions with the communities we serve.”
The Observatory will report its findings in the autumn.