Professional Development

24 - Educational activity planning process
CME activities in fact are developed based on physician and patient needs. Parting from an idea, CME providers must use what is called “needs assessment” data to identify the knowledge or performance gap that has to be filled. These data can be gathered from anything from surveys or evaluations, information on the availability of new treatment option or procedure, consensus statements and guidelines or other studies that may determine that physicians are lacking certain information that would help them better diagnose, manage and treat their patients. Needs assessment is one of the fundamental steps in the planning process of an educational activity to link the identified needs to the desired outcomes. The next steps are determining objectives or what participants should learn, designing the activity to most effectively teach the participants, and, after the activity, evaluating how effective the activity was in meeting the objectives. The process does not stop there: the information gathered from evaluating the activity must be used in planning future activities. This process, in fact, is somewhat similar to that used in diagnosing and treating patients. A physician first diagnoses the patient (needs), determines what the objectives of treatment are, the best treatment strategy (design) and treatment follow-up (evaluation).