In recent years, there has been a stronger focus on developing a personal needs assessment for physicians.  Some of this comes from the local CME offices, from specialty Boards, Maintenance of Certification, and Maintenance of Licensure, to name a few.  Some of these needs may be personal, others may be practice based and others still, specialty based, population based, systems based, etc.  An effective method to determine your professional practice gap is to do an introspective study and view the outcomes against quality standards.    The best personal needs assessment will probably have mixed methods which include:

  • Compare quality standards against your actual practice (NCQA, Healthy People 2010; as well as websites for Boards, Colleges, Specialties and quality sites)
  • Compare specialty standards against your actual practice
  • Do Chart Reviews
  • Compare data in Electronic Medical Records to national standards
  • Review Maintenance of Certification for your particular specialty
  • Talk to your Colleagues
  • Initiate patient surveys of your practice & analyze the data
  • Observe your staff and systems issues within your practice

Once you have determined your professional practice gap, design self-directed learning to “fill” the gap, which may include workshops, study groups, individualized programs via websites, journals, “academic detailing”, etc.






 1  Norman, GR,Shannon, SI, Marrin, MI,Learning in Practice:  The need for needs assessment in continuing medical education, BMJ. 2004;328:999-1001