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This original research article examines ways to improve the quality and clarity of Needs Assessments (NAs). Using a survey primarily targeted toward individuals who develop NAs, the authors seek to evaluate poor or unprofessional practices that may compromise their value or validity.
Background and Aims: Needs assessments (NAs) are commonly developed to identify gaps in the knowledge, competence, performance, and confidence of health care providers and to guide the development of continuing education activities designed to remedy these deficiencies. Although best practices of NA development have been thoroughly described, little work has been done to evaluate poor or unprofessional practices that may compromise their value or validity. We sought to describe these practices with a survey primarily targeted toward individuals who develop NAs.
Respondents to an annual survey were prompted to describe unprofessional or poor practices that they had observed in NAs developed by other writers. Responses were categorized by 2 independent reviewers.
A total of 104 individuals submitted responses to the survey. Of those, 67 included write-in responses describing poor practices. The most common poor practices were related to sources and referencing (19 responses), whereas other commonly cited poor practices included irrelevance or poor focus; organization, coherence, and readability issues; and plagiarism, fabrication, or bias. Specific quotations from write-in responses are provided in this article.
Despite available resources that outline and teach best practices in writing CME NAs, writers continue to struggle with referencing, organization, coherence, and readability. This may present an opportunity for the industry to consider new best practices that would encourage standardization and eliminate some of the poor practices described here.
Commentary Lori L. Alexander, MTPW, ELS, MWC
Harting & Bowser’s original research article is being simultaneously published with by the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (Alliance) in the Almanac. In order to provide context and interpretation, of the research results pertinent to their respective readers, both publications have solicited commentaries from their audience to accompany the main article.
56 FEATURE—SCIENCE SERIES
Gene Therapy and Gene Editing: Where Are We? Elise Eller, PhD
An in-depth discussion of gene editing and gene therapy, potential problems, current policies, and the benefits for a variety of diseases.
CRISPR and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells are frequently mentioned in the news, but what are they? CAR T-cell therapy is a type of gene therapy, while CRISPR is a gene editing tool. To put CRISPR and CAR T-cell therapy into context, we need to understand the fundamentals of gene therapy and gene editing. While gene therapy is used to augment a defective gene, gene editing changes DNA in its native location. Both gene therapy and gene editing require delivery mechanisms such as viral vectors to deliver the therapeutic elements to target cells, and delivery can occur either in vivo or ex vivo. To date, a handful of gene therapies are approved in the world, including 3 gene therapies approved in the United States (2 of which are CAR T-cell therapies). No gene editing–based therapies have been approved anywhere in the world, although research is ongoing in preclinical studies, animal models, and clinical trials. There are potential problems with both gene therapy and gene editing. In particular, a major concern for CRISPR-based approaches is the potential for off-target effects. There are also ethical concerns regarding gene editing of germline cells, which would affect the DNA of an individual’s progeny. In spite of the problems with gene therapy and gene editing, both gene therapy and gene editing offer potential solutions for a variety of diseases.
62 MEMBERS MATTERS
Ancestry DNA Testing and Privacy Haifa Kassis, MD, and Deborah A. Ferguson, PhD
Ancestry DNA testing has become increasingly popular in recent years. This rapid expansion has prompted many questions about the accuracy of these tests and their impact on consumers’ privacy. To address these questions, Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, gave a presentation on “Ancestry DNA Testing and Privacy” to AMWA members and guests at the New England Chapter meeting on September 24, 2018.
Intro to Members Matters Editor
66 REGULATORY INSIGHTS
So, You Think You Know About Medical Devices? Shepard Bentley, Melory Johnson, VN, and Shara N. Pantry, PhD
Looking for a preliminary understanding of medical devices? Experts weigh in on what medical devices are and what they are not, classification details, premarket approvals, and regulations.
Lee Aase, Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, discusses Mayo Clinic’s social media initiatives, the Mayo Clinic’s progressive approach, and why Mayo was such an early adopter of social media.