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Best Practices for Writing CME Needs Assessments

By Donald Harting, MA, MS, ELS, CHCP, President, Harting Communications LLC, Downingtown, PA, and Ruwaida Vakil, MSc, Principal, ProMed Write LLC, Somerset NJ

A needs assessment (NA) is any passage of text that documents the need for instruction on a particular topic among physicians and other health care professionals. This NA may also be called a gap analysis. Normally the NA is just one part of a larger document, often called a CME grant proposal. Typically this larger document will also include sections on budget, audience generation, and outcomes analysis (Figure 1). A proposal for an accredited activity will also contain some indication of how many continuing education credits may be awarded and information about the organization awarding credit. These additional sections are NOT included in this blog.

September 12, 2022 at 9:00 AM

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Medical Sales Training and Beyond

Product training—or medical sales training—is an essential ingredient in bringing new medical devices and pharmaceutical products to market.

Pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies spend enormous amounts of time and money implementing medical sales training when launching new products or when products are approved for new indications. Creating medical sales training materials is a growing opportunity for medical communicators who can leverage their skills and experience to help bring better products to healthcare providers and patients.

July 25, 2022 at 9:30 AM

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How Do You Identify a Practice Gap for CME Activities

An essential skill for medical communicators involved in creating materials for continuing medical education (CME) activities is learning to identify a practice gap by conducting a gap analysis.

October 18, 2021 at 9:00 AM

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Making the Case for Writing Compelling Case Studies

This blog is based on content presented by Scott Kober, MBA, and Eve Wilson, PhD, ELS, FACEHP, at the AMWA Medical Writing & Communication Conference, as well as a panel discussion co‑hosted by AMWA’s Delaware Valley and Mid‑Atlantic chapters.

Crafting compelling case studies is a marketable skill for medical writers, especially those working in continuing medical education (CME). Demand is strong among medical education companies for freelance writers who can write brief screenplays for patient case simulations delivered via proprietary computer platforms.

September 20, 2021 at 9:00 AM

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Tips for Creating an Effective Needs Assessment

 This blog is based on an article written by Donald Harting, MA, ELS, CHCP, and Nathalie Turner, ELS, that was originally published in the AMWA Journal, and on content presented by Harting, Turner, and Katherine Molnar-Kimber, PhD, at the AMWA Medical Writing & Communication Conference.

Needs assessments are a critical step in the development of continuing education for health care professionals. Medical communicators working in this professional focus area are likely to participate in creating needs assessments.

July 5, 2021 at 9:00 AM

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Best Practices in Writing Test Items

This article is based on content presented by Lori L. Alexander, MTPW, ELS, MWC, at the AMWA Medical Writing & Communication Conference. It was originally published in the AMWA Journal.

Continuing medical education credits are often awarded based on answers to test questions, so it is essential that the questions be designed well.

Research shows, however, that “almost half of all test items have flaws,” said veteran continuing medical education writer and editor Lori Alexander. This problem is driving the need to develop better test items and is creating job opportunities for medical writers and editors. In this open session, she explained how to write test items using guidelines and best practices from the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

October 21, 2019 at 8:00 AM

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