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Develop CME to Address Practice Gaps

May 14, 2010

Develop CME to Address Practice Gaps

Today we are going to talk about needs assessments, professional practice gaps and how to develop CME that addresses knowledge, competency, performance and patient outcomes per the ACCME’s recommendations. This information today was developed not only from Global's clinical team and professional education staff, but also from the recent ACCME Bridge to Quality workshop held in Chicago.

Professional Practice Gaps

When we talk about professional practice gaps, that’s really where we start. It is important to note that the gap analysis you do is part of the needs assessment. Where we start is with the gap, and the gap is really nothing more than the difference between what is currently being done in the field and what should be done in the field. The point of the education is to bridge that gap and get people to move away from their current practices of knowledge or performance, to better performances and knowledge. We start by asking a simple question and that is, “what is the problem in the medical field?” That could be a problem of diagnosis- is there not a proper diagnosis happening, or improper diagnosis. It could also be dealing with referral or treatment, or it could even be dealing with delivery of healthcare. Or, a little bit outside daily practice, it could be dealing with leadership issues. As well, it could be dealing with an issue that cuts across every discipline, but especially in the medical field, which is communication. This then leads us to the next question, which asks “Why does this problem exist?” When we answer the question, “why does the problem exist?” we are going to get to the question “Does this education address knowledge, competency, performance or patient outcomes?” Dealing with education that addresses knowledge, if we answer the question, “Why does this problem exist” and we come to the answer that physicians in the area of alcohol abuse, if we say why is there a problem out there, we might say that physicians should know that patients would address or be more likely to seek treatment in their alcohol abuse if the physician would simply speak to them about the problem. Then if the physicians knew that there would be a better result, and that would be an issue of knowledge.


In competency, we may determine that physicians need strategies for talking to patients about their alcohol abuse and helping them deal with it. If physicians need strategies if that’s what we come to, then we are probably going to be developing education that addresses competency. For performance issues, we might come to the conclusion that physicians don’t effectively communicate with their patients about alcohol abuse issues, so therefore we want to develop education to help physicians effectively communicate, screen and intervene with their patients. In that case we are talking about a competency area. Lastly, when it comes to patient outcomes we might conclude when we ask “why does this problem exist?” that physicians need to help reduce the risk or help lower levels of alcohol abuse. If that’s the case we are talking about a true patient outcome and therefore we would want to be developing education around those areas. If you need help developing any needs assessment or professional practice gap, feel free to contact us here. We work with all of our partners in basically developing a template which helps them identify the professional practice gap, develop the needs assessment and then develop and address learning objectives in the education that targets competency, performance or patient outcomes. If we can be of any help let us know.