PROFILE: Colorado Health Professions and Systems Data Project: Understanding Provider Workforce Issues in Colorado

The Primary Care Office at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) promotes health equity in Colorado by reducing barriers to primary, oral and mental health care access. The Office emphasizes the acute primary medical, oral and mental health service needs of low-income, publicly insured, uninsured and geographically isolated Coloradans.


Project Summary: The purpose of the Colorado Health Professions and Systems Data Project is to find common solutions to workforce data needs and to form effective collaborations for the collection, management, sharing, and distribution of health professional workforce data. By integrating data sets from various sources, the Primary Care Office is working to create a directory of all registered and licensed providers in the state, which will support a myriad of uses, including:

  • measuring clinical capacity at a service area level and refining the allocation of Primary Care Office resources to address workforce shortages;
  • analysis of provider “churn” and retention, wages and salaries by clinical category and region, and other patient economic and social characteristics
  • accurate tracking of providers and practice locations and identification of areas of clinical provider shortage; and
  • clarification of patient access to care according to certain social determinant metrics.

The project has successfully integrated ten datasets and system directory level data will be updated as new information becomes available. Most of the data in the system will be available for community health, public health, governmental partners and nongovernmental organizations who are conducting research or business information services in the public interest.

Benefit to Colorado

The project is benefiting Colorado by creating a more comprehensive understanding of workforce shortages, gaps in access to care, and provider distribution across the state. This information will allow stakeholders to take the steps necessary to develop programs and make policy recommendations to ensure all Coloradans have access to essential health care services regardless of their location, insurance status or other determining factors.