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Disaggregating Data from the CHAS

Telling a Deeper Story of Colorado Communities

June 28, 2024

The Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) asks questions about race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This information can help researchers understand differences in access and outcomes for specific Colorado communities.

As we explore issues like health coverage, access to health care, and the factors that influence health in Colorado, understanding strengths and disparities can help us see where we need to focus our efforts to achieve health equity.

But we can do more.

The race and ethnicity categories included on most surveys, including the CHAS, are so broad that they mask wide variations within specific communities. With support from our partners at the University of California, Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research, CHI began adding additional racial and ethnic sub-identities to the CHAS questionnaire in 2021. This new information paved the way for a process called data disaggregation. Data disaggregation is a set of methods used to uncover populations often hidden in data. 

The methodology reports and analyses on this page are the product of CHI's efforts to paint a more nuanced portrait of Colorado communities. 

CHI thanks AJ Scheitler, EdD; Ninez Ponce, MPP, PhD; and Susan Babey, PhD, at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research for their guidance and support of this project. We are also grateful to the community members who shared their personal stories and experiences, which provided important context that shaped this report. CHI completed this work with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Learn more about our work to disaggregate data about Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community through the Colorado Lotus Project.


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How Does the CHAS Benefit Your Work?

We want to know how Colorado Health Access Survey data impacts your work in Colorado’s health care ecosystem. Your feedback could help inform future areas of exploration.

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Our Findings

Behavioral health care access has been at the forefront of policy and decision-making as many more people sought treatment during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding access and use among distinct populations in Colorado is equally important, as many people face barriers that make it difficult, or often seemingly impossible, to get care. CHI's analysis of 2021 CHAS data found differences in how people engage with behavioral health care. Within the Hispanic or Latino community, data show many unique identities that have different patterns of accessing behavioral health care.

Key takeaways and reflections:

  • Hispanic or Latino community members have similar rates of behavioral health diagnoses compared with the state average, though there are some differences across specific groups.
  • However, Hispanic or Latino community members are not accessing behavioral health care to the same degree as the Colorado average.
  • Many in Colorado used telemedicine services the last few years, and those who are Hispanic or Latino were no exception. Hispanic or Latino Coloradans were more likely to use telemedicine than the state average. However, these visits were less likely to be related to behavioral health care. 

Read the full report.

Data Disaggregation: Research methods and project history

CHI has approached this work in three phases. Phase I assessed methods to disaggregate data. In Phase II, CHI applied predictive modelling methods developed from Phase I and analyzed the confidence and reliability of those methods. In Phase III, CHI used the models developed in the first two phases to understand behavioral health care use, diagnosis, and mode of delivery.