The rural and remote primary medical workforce continues to struggle to meet community needs. This paper looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the various datasets used to measure workforce. The analysis concludes that no current data set adequately describes workforce from a community need perspective. In particular, activity based data sets based on claims data do not capture issues such as service mix or the importance of issues outside activity collections, such as time on call. The paper calls for a new approach to workforce measurement based on a community needs model.