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The Importance of unmet needs assessment in medical education

July 26, 2023

Medical education is constantly evolving as new research and technologies are developed. To ensure that healthcare professionals are up to date on the latest knowledge and practices, it is essential to conduct regular unmet needs assessments. 

An unmet needs assessment is a process of identifying the gaps in knowledge and clinical practice among healthcare professionals. This can be done through surveys, interviews, literature reviews, or focus groups. The results can then be used to develop targeted medical education programs that address the specific needs of the target audience. 

Conducting an unmet needs assessment before developing a medical education program is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that medical education programs are relevant and align with the needs of healthcare professionals. Secondly, it can help to identify areas where there is a lack of consensus on best practice. Thirdly, it can help ensure that educational programs effectively improve knowledge and skills. 

Keeping unmet needs assessments updated ensure that they reflect current real-world practice. This can be done by conducting regular assessments and monitoring the results to identify any changes in the needs of healthcare professionals. For the healthcare professional education platforms run by Scientific Education Support (SES), unmet needs are reviewed at least once a year and any relevant additions are discussed with the hub's steering committee members. By conducting regular reviews of our unmet needs assessments, we ensure that our medical education programs are more effective in addressing the needs of healthcare professionals and improving the quality of care provided to patients. 

Below are some generic examples of knowledge and clinical practice gaps that could be identified through an unmet needs assessment: 

  • Lack of knowledge about the latest treatment options and mechanism of action of novel drug classes 
  • Lack of knowledge about the side effects of treatment and dose modifications 
  • Low confidence in making treatment decisions when sequencing therapies 

To read more about unmet needs assessments, you can find additional resources at The Association for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).  

If you are interested in learning more about our processes when developing an unmet need assessment or information regarding our current needs assessment for our digital platforms, please contact us at 

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