What is a Needs Assessment?

An introduction

By Jacob Coverstone
Jcoverstone@aao.org I have no financial interest to disclose.

Attendees will be able to: • Define Needs Assessment • Create and utilize an outline for conducting a Needs Assessment • Understand types of identified needs – Normative – Relative – Expressed – Perceived

.When do you conduct a Needs Assessment? • A Needs Assessment takes place before the activity is designed.

C16.1. C3.Why do you conduct a Needs Assessment? • The purpose of a Needs Assessment is to make decisions regarding priorities for the program.3] . E2. C21. C4. C19.2. you will address or support 9 of the 22 Updated Criteria and 3 of 7 Essential Elements [C2. C18. E2. C6. E2. • If you conduct a proper Needs Assessment. C22.

Needs Assessments are about Evidence • Can you answer: – “what evidence do we have that our audience needs this education?” – “what evidence do we have that our solution will yield positive results?” – “what is the reason that we are offering education in this format?” .

“It depends on what the meaning of the word • Definitions 1: 'is' is” – Former President Bill Clinton – Gap – Need – Want – Assessment – Needs Assessment .

. – Needs often relate to barriers • Wants are possible solutions – A proposed means to filling the gap. • Needs are contributing factors – What needs to be resolved to help close a gap. • Assessment is the evaluation of needs.Definitions 1 • Gaps – The space between what currently exists and what should exist. barriers and resources.

Definitions 1. So important. • Needs Assessment is the process of identifying and measuring areas for improvement in a target audience. continued. and determining the methods to achieve improvement. it has its own slide. .

What goes into a Needs Assessment? • • • • • • • Normative data Evaluations Objectives Opinion Timelines Barriers Resources “What does it take to get your activity off the ground?” .

So… what is a Needs Assessment? Pre-Assessment Assessment Needs Assessment Action Plan .

“What do we know?” • This is the foundation of Gap Analysis – – – – – What is the current state? Where should we be? How does our region compare to others? What’s new? What’s important? .Phases of a Needs Assessment • Pre-Assessment – Data collection.

Phases of a Needs Assessment • Assessment – Evaluation of the data • What are our barriers? – Both internal and external • What Needs have we identified? • Are some gaps bigger than others? – Consider both scope and severity • What are our priorities? • Do we have the resources to address them? • Why do anything at all? .

Phases of a Needs Assessment • Action Plan – How are we going to translate what we have into what they need? • Which Needs can we address? • How are we overcoming barriers? – List additional barriers hindering progress • Have any areas been identified for follow-up or future opportunities for educational intervention? .

of patients are exposed/vulnerable/expected to suffer from… – Severity: What are the consequences? • Discomfort? Pain? Blindness? – Are there national standards for treatment? • Can we do better? .Gathering Data • Search for objective measures: – Scope: How many. or what percent.

” .Elwood Blues. we got a full tank of gas.Assessment. The Blues Brothers . and we're wearing sunglasses. it's dark. an example: “It's 106 miles to Chicago. half a pack of cigarettes.

It's not what you know. it's how you know it. • Needs (gaps) are identified in 4 ways: – Types of Need • • • • Normative Relative Expressed Perceived .

authority.Types of Need • Normative – Defined as falling below a standard criterion established by custom. or general consensus. – Strength: • Allows planners to use objective targets – Weakness: • Need levels change with time and must be re-evaluated .

Types of Need. cont. • Relative – Measured by the gap between the level of service between similar communities – Strength: • Can lead to a priority for distribution of limited resources – Weakness: • Limits resource allocation to under-performing areas .

Types of Need. • Expressed – Defined in terms of the number of people who actually have sought help – Strength: • Focuses on situations where people have taken action • Helps to determine barriers – Weakness: • Not all people with Needs seek help • Loss of the bigger picture • Misses latent Needs . cont.

Types of Need. • Perceived – Defined in terms of what people think their needs are or feel their needs to be – Strength: • Easy to come by – Weakness: • Subjective • Subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect . cont.

Problems must be translated into Needs • Strive to answer all 4 types of Need. . – Each type of need paints a different picture of the gap.

Needs are translated into Objectives • But that’s another talk… .

• The more types of need you consider. the richer the planning process and the more effective the education. • A Needs Assessment is conducted before the activity is planned. • Pre-Assessment is not enough.Remember • Want and Need are not synonyms. .