The anatomy of a needs assessment Maintaining professional competence is critical for medical professionals. All licensed healthcare providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, etc.) must earn credits continuously to maintain their professional licenses. These credits are earned by completing certain accredited continuing educational (CE or CME) programs. Continuing medical education aims to impact clinical impact and improve patient outcomes. Needs assessments are conventionally used to analyze the deficiencies of a healthcare provider’s knowledge, confidence, or competence in a given therapeutic area. A needs assessment is effectively both an outcome and a process. Medical writers often play a critical role in developing needs assessments.