Assessing Unperceived Learning Needs in Continuing Medical Education for Primary Care Physicians: A Scoping Review
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INTRODUCTION: Assessing needs before developing continuing medical education/continuing professional development (CME/CPD) programs is a crucial step in the education process. A previous systematic literature review described a lack of objective evaluation for learning needs assessments in primary care physicians. This scoping review updates the literature on uses of objective evaluations to assess physicians' unperceived learning needs in CME/CPD. Identifying and understanding these approaches can inform the development of educational programs that are relevant to clinical practice and patient care. The study objectives were to (1) scope the literature since the last systematic review published in 1999; (2) conduct a comprehensive search for studies and reports that explore innovative tools and approaches to identify physicians' unperceived learning needs; (3) summarize, compare, and classify the identified approaches; and (4) map any gaps in the literature to identify future areas of research. METHODS: A scoping review was used to "map" the literature on current knowledge regarding approaches to unperceived needs assessment using conceptual frameworks for planning and assessing CME/CPD activities. RESULTS: Two prominent gaps were identified: (1) performance-based assessment strategies are highly recommended in nonresearch articles yet have low levels of implementation in published studies and (2) analysis of secondary data through patient input or environmental scanning is emphasized in grey literature implementation strategies more so than in peer-reviewed theoretical and research articles. DISCUSSION: Future evaluations should continue to incorporate multiple strategies and focus on making unperceived needs assessments actionable by describing strategies for resource management.
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