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Planning Process

How does one go about planning a CME activity?

The CME planning process generally follows the classic Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model for improvement, which can be depicted as follows (right).

The PDSA cycle is a simple yet powerful tool for accelerating improvement by developing a plan to test the change (Plan), carrying out the test (Do), observing and learning from the consequences (Study), and determining what modifications should be made to the test (Act).

Basically, you are asking the questions:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • How will we know that a change is an improvement?
  • What changes can we make that will result in improvement?

If this is an annual event or a series of learning interventions, this model can be quite useful for measuring change, particularly in physician performance or patient outcomes.

For more information on PDSA in health care refer to:

What are the steps in the planning process?

The Yale CME Application is the primary starting point that will help to lay a foundation and guide development. To get started, establish a planning team based on the “question in practice” (area of focus or concern) you want to address. With that in mind, the application asks you to think through and complete these fields:

  • Identify practice gaps
  • Provide needs assessment data
  • Write objectives and expected results
  • Identify your target audience
  • Suggest an appropriate educational format(s)
  • List desirable physician attributes/core competencies that will be addressed
  • Identify potential or known barriers to learning
  • Examine patient safety concerns (if applicable)
  • Determine how the activity will be evaluated against the objectives
  • Identify pre/post test survey questions

Please allow ample time for the activity development process and notify the Yale CME office as far in advance as possible to begin the steps.

We encourage you to contact the CME office at for information and assistance.