A: The Minimum Data Set (MDS) provides guidelines for collecting basic, minimum, and consistent data on health professionals. These guidelines are not requirements, but they do provide suggestions so that data are collected in a way that is useful for research purposes and comparable across professions and states. Some states ask questions that go beyond the MDS so they can better understand their workforce and answer questions from their policymakers.
The following resources provide information on basic MDS guidelines and going beyond the MDS to ask additional questions, plus examples of data collection instruments from various states.
• Minimum Data Sets Created by National Boards, Councils, and Associations
• The Health Workforce Minimum Data Set (MDS): What You Need to Know (2016)
• Beyond the Minimum Data Set (MDS): What Additional Data Do States Collect on Health Workforce Supply? (2016)
• State Health Workforce Data Collection Inventory (look for states with “Yes” under “Surveys Available”)