CME Needs Assessment Guidelines

Identifying Professional Practice Gaps, Needs, Objectives, and Results

What is a professional practice gap?
A professional practice gap is the difference between actual and ideal performance.

Actual GAP Optimal
What learners know & do

What learners should know & do

Professional practice gaps are measured in terms of:

How are gaps identified?
Needs assessment is the systematic process of gathering information/data that is used to determine the current situation, state of skills, knowledge, abilities and performance and to determine if instructional solutions can be utilized to close the gap between actual and ideal performance.

What is the difference between a gap and a need?
Gaps are the difference between ACTUAL (what is) and IDEAL (what should be) in regards to performance and/or patient outcomes. Identified needs are defined as “the need for education on a specific topic identified by a gap in professional practice.”

How do I formulate learning objectives?
After looking at the practice gaps and educational needs, what do you want the learner to be able to accomplish after the activity?

What is a desired result?
Desired results are what you expect the learner to do in his/her practice setting. How will the information presented impact the clinical practice and/or behavior of the learner? Is the activity designed to:


Needs Assessment Data Sources:

The first step in educational design process of a AMA PRA Category 1 activity is the assessment of the educational needs or the purpose of the activity.  The need for the educational activity goes beyond the sponsor's own perception of need and must relate to relevant patient care issues.  This can be supported by:

Physician Interests

Organizational Needs

Hospital Information Sources/Quality Data

Other Sources

Documentation of Needs Assessment Data must be submitted with your application.

Information gathered from NC Medical Society website.