Education Planning

PeerPoint Accreditation Manual

Professional Practice Gap

Professional Practice Gaps are the description of a problem in practice, the difference between ACTUAL (what is happening) and IDEAL (what should be happening) concerning physician knowledge, competence, performance and/or patient outcomes.

Professional Practice Gaps exist when:

  • Physicians don’t know something (Knowledge).
  • Physicians don’t know how to do something (Competence).
  • Physicians don’t do something in their practice (Performance).
  • Physicians’ patients don’t do as well as they could (Patient outcomes).

Specific Examples

  • Inappropriate technique and use of ultrasound is leading to complications and medical errors
  • Not successfully implementing goal directed therapy and target therapy is leading to worse outcomes
  • Chronic constipation is often overlooked, yet a debilitating cause of abdominal pain
  • IBS continues to be a common condition encountered by health care professionals but is often not recognized

Educational Need

A need can be defined as the cause or reason for the practice gap. Why does this problem exist? Is there a lack of knowledge, competence or performance that caused the problem? The difference between a gap and a need is the Gap is WHAT, the Need is WHY.

Educational needs are the foundation of learning objectives.

Examples of educational needs:

  • Staying current with rapid advances in the field; current methods of diagnosis and treatment.
  • Training is inadequate, inefficient, or out of date.
  • Condition is poorly understood.
  • Providers don’t know when to refer patient to specialist.

Sources for Educational Need

Sources can include any or all of the following:

  • Research into core clinical competencies suggested by relevant medical organizations
  • A literature review indicating that clinicians require more learning in specific areas
  • Documentation of unmet clinical needs in certain patient populations
  • Opinions from clinical or scientific experts
  • Surveys from past participants or prospective learners

Desired Outcomes

Desired outcomes are the specific improvements that the educational activity seeks to achieve:

  • The physician acquires knowledge.
  • The physician integrates that knowledge to improve competence.
  • The physician that applies that competence to improve performance in practice.
  • The physicians’ patients have improved outcomes.

Learning Objectives

A learning objective describes what the participant will acquire during the educational activity, or how the patient outcome will improve based on the educational activity. Learning Objectives are the take-home messages that bridge the gap between the identified Professional Practice Gap and the Desired Outcomes. Learning objectives are usually formatted as follows:

  • After the activity, the participant will know….
  • After the activity, the participant will be able to do…

Target Audience

List the professionals for whom this activity is appropriate.

How will this enhance clinical skills?

Describe how this activity will improve the physician’s ability to treat their patients and improve patient outcomes. Describe how patient outcomes should improve based on the improved, knowledge, competence and skill of the physician.

ABMS/ACGME competencies

Using the dropdown menu, choose the competencies that are appropriate for this activity.