What states have implemented the MDS?

Many states are already collecting health workforce data, with a customized MDS in place to collect any additional data they need for health workforce planning. Some examples of states that are already collecting an MDS include North Carolina, Virginia, New York, Indiana, and Minnesota. For more information on which states are collecting data, visit our…

What is the MDS?

The Minimum Data Set, or MDS, provides basic, consistent guidelines for fundamental health workforce questionnaires. These questions can be used by anyone who wants to collect data on the supply of health workers, whether through the licensure process or surveys, and can be adapted for additional professions. MDS questions focus on essential demographic, education, and…

How do you fund health workforce data collection and analysis?

Data systems can be funded through state appropriations, private foundations, grants and contracts, and on a cost-recovery basis. Each funding mechanism has its challenges. State appropriations are tenuous; administrations and priorities change, and budgets get cut. Foundations are often geared to fund initiatives that show more tangible results. Grants are often time-limited. Cost-recovery is subject…

How do you measure demand for health workers?

Demand for health services can be difficult to measure, and data availability varies. Broadly speaking, demand for health services can be split into 2 categories: Utilization Those who utilize health care services, which includes people who need and receive services, and people who receive but may not need services (eg, elective procedures, the “worried well”)…

What’s the best geographic unit to use for health workforce analysis?

The study’s purpose, design, data, confidentiality considerations, and funder requirements should inform which geographic unit of analysis is most appropriate. For a broader discussion of geographic units, see Chapter 5. Geography and Disparities in Health Care (Ricketts, TC) in Guidance for the National Healthcare Disparities Report. Studies that work with small cell sizes, especially in…

Do you have examples of questions that we could ask?

Yes. The National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers, and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) have developed Minimum Data Set questions for their professions. Additionally, HRSA has developed MDS standards, and the WWAMI Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Washington has archived a questionnaire library containing data collection…

How easy is it to get licensure boards to add or change questions?

This will vary from state to state. It is important to remain cognizant of a) the financial cost to the board to change online renewal questions; b) the time that it takes respondents to complete their licensure renewal form; and c) the need for comparability across time. Only request changes or additions when absolutely necessary….

How do you work with licensure boards to collect and share data?

Relationships are key. Licensure boards are important partners in health workforce data collection, but their main priority is regulation to protect patient safety. They often don’t have resources (ie, funding, staff, time) to collect additional data, and in some states, current legislation restricts their ability to share data. Show the boards the value of collecting…

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