Write Medicine

Meeting the Need for Trustworthy CME/CE Needs Assessments

October 03, 2022 Alexandra Howson Season 4 Episode 28
Write Medicine
Meeting the Need for Trustworthy CME/CE Needs Assessments
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ruwaida Vakil, MSc is a consultant, speaker and a medical writer with expertise in medical communications and continuing medical education (CME). Ruwaida earned her MSc in Immunology at the University of Toronto and the Ontario Cancer Institute. She moved into developing educational content over 21 years ago and is a highly experienced writer of needs assessments. She has developed an effective system for ensuring that these kinds of CME/CE deliverables are framed by fair balance,  detail gaps in clinical practice, describe the likely education required to address those gaps, and foreshadow anticipated outcomes from education.
 
On this episode, Ruwaida shares valuable lessons for people considering a move into CME/CE writing, or for CME/CE writers who are considering working freelance.
 
 ✔️Establishing a CME/CE writing niche can be highly rewarding and sustainable especially if you establish yourself as an expert in writing needs assessments.
 
 ✔️Direct energy into marketing yourself as a CME/CE writer to ensure a steady stream of valuable and valued clients.
 
 ✔️Develop relationship management skills to ensure fair balance and content integrity.
 
 ✔️Use downtime to remain current in your specialist area. You can share new insights with clients and position yourself as a valuable partner in their work.
 
  ✔️Sales training and non-accredited education clients value CME writers as skilled content partners.
 
 Resources
Ruwaida has generously shared a range of resources for listeners. 

Connect with Ruwaida
ProMed Write LLC
e:
ruwaida@pr


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Alex Howson:

Hello and welcome. I'm Alex Howson and this is Write Medicine. I'm here today with

Ruwaida Vakil

Alex Howson:

and we're here to talk about differences in similarities between continuing medical education training, and other forms of education materials that, writers are involved in creating welcome Ruda.

Ruwaida Vakil:

Thank you, Alex.

Alex Howson:

Well, it's really good to see you. Please tell listeners who you are and what you do.

Ruwaida Vakil:

So I'm a consultant. I do some speaking and I'm primarily a medical writer working in medical communications and CME. My background is as a benchtop scientist, so I got my master's in immunology at the university of Toronto and the Ontario cancer Institute. It was a research based master. So I was in the lab from day one and. Had a thesis and defended that and all of that. I transitioned into medical education and communications about 21 years ago. And since then I've been heavily involved in AMWA. I've also presented at the Alliance and MACCME, I've been involved quite a bit with them as well. So I've now done transitioned from, well, I'm working both in CME now and in sales training but on the education side so we still try to focus more on the ed. I focus more on the education part of it than the promotional. And I think that's probably a common experience for a lot of writers to have their foot in more than one field as it were. Because it's not always easy to kind of ensure a steady stream of work from one particular field. Although. I would argue that nicheing down and really kind of concentrating on one area like you're doing in education, but different kinds of education is, can be very valuable for, for writers, for medical writers.

Alex Howson:

Can you talk a little bit more about how you actually made the move into writing education materials? Because I, I think this is something that. a lot of people who are interested in medical writing really chew over and struggle with how do you make that leap? So it it's actually quite fortuitous the way I kind of fell into medical writing.

Ruwaida Vakil:

So as we know, like in grad school and even undergrad, the career counseling divisions of the universities, don't really present this. You know an option, at least when, when we went to school, it wasn't really, I didn't even know this field existed. And when I fell into it, I was like, oh my God, this is like the perfect thing for me. You know, I was a benchtop scientist. I love the science, but I'm a very social person. So I like talking to people. I like communicating and I. As much as I talked to my mice, you know, and my cells they didn't respond. I said, I need to transition into something that's a little bit more com you know, more communications. And I was actually at a job fair and I was standing in line. We had just recently bought our house and my commute to work was like over an hour. So I was gonna, I was working at Roche at that time in Nutley, and it was over an hour and I was like, I'm looking for something closer home. So I was standing in line, I believe it was for BMS, cuz that's closer home. For again, another lab job and kind of off to the side, there was a medical communications company and their HR person was standing there and she kind of signaled to me and I was like, well, I won't lose my space in line. I mean, I can go up to a doctor. I'm not even losing my space. I had my resume and I handed off to her and, and she she's like, okay, this looks interesting. Have you ever done medical writing? And I had done some medical writing when I was in grad school, kind of on the side for. Communications company called ribosome communications. And it was for a publication called geriatrics and aging, and it was more direct to consumer type, you know, for patients. It was a magazine that was in the doctor's offices. So I done a little bit of that. I said, yeah, I'd. Kind of have, and you should took my resume. And then the president of the company called me, and this was shortly after nine 11. And the main question he asked me is, are you scared about, are you scared of flying? You know, cuz we're gonna have you travel for a lot of these meetings. And I said, well, I think it's safer to travel now than it ever will be. You know, ever has been. And I went in for the interview. I started working at this communications company. And I was like, wow, I didn't even know this field existed. I was very excited. I never looked back after that. I mean, after that, I shortly after that, I incorporated my own business and started freelancing, but I never looked back. So, and when you started freelancing, did you have a clear idea of the kind of materials that you wanted to write or the kinds of clients that you really wanted to focus? I don't think anybody really does when they start off, because when you start off, you're kind of almost desperate to do something. I had I had met Brian Bass from Amma when I was working at this medical communications company. And he had kind of mentored me along the way in terms of encouraging me even to freelance. And he said, if you ever decide, you're gonna freelance, you reach out, join AMWA. And I did. So I spoke to him a lot about, you know, what's good to get into and. Most writers breaking into the industry do start off with needs assessments. I was very lucky. The first year when I incorporated, I got a lot of business from one client. So I ended up doing a lot of work for that client. But the mistake I did is I didn't look for other clients cuz I, you know, that I think the main thing for a lot of writers, especially when you transition from a full-time job is to understand that when you're freelancing, it's a business, right. And you have to run it like a business. So you cannot, you know, just assume that your client is your employer. They're not your employer, they're a client. And they should be one of many clients over the years. I learned that you really should have no more than 20 or 30% of your business come from one person. Cuz if anything happens, they change their mind. You. Don't have work. And so I made that mistake, which I think a lot of rookie people freelancers do, but I got so much work. My first year from that one client, I just didn't bother marketing myself at all. And then their company didn't do as well for whatever reason. And then I found that I didn't have any work. So that's the one thing I would definitely advise anyone getting into freelancing is diversify from the beginning. And it's hard to say no to so much. But make sure that you are marketing yourself, you know, even when you have work, that's important. And I think we have to have an episode on marketing at, at, at some point for absolutely for sure, because that's an area that's a lot of people who are not just writers, but instructional designers and other practitioners who are involved in the CME/CE community and who work freelance really, really struggle.

Alex Howson:

So thank you for sharing all that wisdom. In, in the first seven minutes of this episode. When you realized you were gonna have to do some work to find additional clients and, and you were thinking about marketing. How were you thinking about positioning yourself? In, in, you know, as an education writer, as a training writer and how do you see those two kinds of writing in terms of what's similar and different about them? So I guess there's two questions there. So I see myself more as an education writer. I think one of the things that I found out as I network with people at AMWA is you have people or, and, and other people in this field as well, whether it was MACCME or ACCME as well. People entered this field from diverse background.

Ruwaida Vakil:

So you have people. People who have a strong science background that entered this field, but you also have people who come from journalism or, you know, not as much of a science background. So I think that there are different opportunities for different people in the field, depending on what your background is, you certainly can learn science and you can learn how to write, you know, so you can kind of meld a bit of both of that depending on what area you enter with. But I think having a science background allows you to do more. Core education and get down into the nitty gritty really into the weeds of, you know analyzing clinical trials or for example, looking at papers and picking positives and negatives of a study, which someone who just has a journalism background may struggle a little bit more with doing so I decided to leverage my scientific background more and position myself in that way. And I think that. Has helped, you know, kind of discerned me from other people who are in the field and has given me different kind of opportunities too. Can you say more about those opportunities? So I, I, I tend to do a lot of like I said, I do education I've, I've moved into a lot of sales training now and I'm finding myself really getting into the nitty gritty, cuz what happens a lot with, with sales training is even on the client side, a lot of the people that are at the pharmaceutical company, for example, don't really have a strong science background. They're sales training people. Right? So. Many times they don't even know what resources to provide or, you know, the nitty gritty of the data that I'm analyzing or developing for them. So I've learned to leverage my background, which they really do appreciate. I've had a lot of people from the pharmaceutical. Company specifically asked for me as a writer because I I'm not ex you know, scared to push back and tell them, well, no, I don't think this is what you're asking me to do here is correct. This is the data. This is where we should get the sourcing. We should cite it to this particular paper. We should cite to this presentation. You know that what, you know, what you're asking me to add here is not citable. I can't add it. So pushing back a little bit, you know, is important. I think. It's something. I think a lot of people do struggle with and, you know, I, I do a little bit as well, but the times that I have sort of humbly tried to express my opinion on something, it, it has been so well received that now I'm a little bit more confident in pushing back and I think that's important.

Alex Howson:

And your clients see, will see you as a trustworthy source of they, they see a value in that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And what you're talking about speaks to, you know, the concept of fair balance, which is, you know, something we're very familiar with and the continuing medical education, continuing education world.

Ruwaida Vakil:

But it sounds as though you're really applying that concept in the world of sales training as. absolutely. So the transition to sales training was always a little concerning to me because I'm very married to the pure science. And I believe in, you know, representing the data the way it is. And that's the reason I stayed in CME for so long. But you know, as all medical writers do, we need to diversify and expand. And as I entered the sales training industry, I wanted to make sure I maintained that. So. I've been actually quite surprised. How receptive you know, the, the client has been for removing promotional stuff. And I think the medical department at the pharmaceutical companies, maybe after Purdue pharma and how much trouble they got into and dope sick, and all of that are certainly more aware. I mean, I recently was in a med legal review where they were asking for a. For a simple statement, such as, you know, complicated pill regimens are hard for patients to follow. And I was. Wow. That's like a general information thing, but I'm so glad you're asking for a paper to support that. So that, so I really think, and, and some of the more recently medical legal reviews that I've been on have been focused on, well, where's the data. Where is the supporting information for this? Is it published? You know, I, you know, we need to cite the published information or something presented. At a meeting for example, and where exactly is it in that publication? I really like that. I think that's a good sign, you know? So something came out of Purdue no, I, I agree.

Alex Howson:

Actually, I think it is a good sign and, and, you know, Over the years. I've worked a fair amount on advisory board meetings and and some speaker bureau trainings as well, which is a close family, resemblance to sales training, although it's slightly different. And, and what I've been finding as well is that there is a much more concerted effort from medical legal. To really make sure that any ambiguous claims are tightened up and you know, linked to something that can substantiate the claim. So I, I think that is kind of hopeful and interesting. It is what is also interesting. And I wonder if this is your experience as well is that often you'll find pushback from marketing to really kind of massage and finesse the word choices in ways that can sometimes be uncomfortable for medical writers. And it sounds as though you're doing a really great job in using your science background to kind of push back to the pushback. I wonder if you have any advice for medical writers who perhaps and you mentioned it yourself, you, we all have that struggle of pushing back. Do you have any advice for medical writers in terms of how they might do that in a way that Leaves them not doesn't leave them feeling depleted

Ruwaida Vakil:

So I think one of the things that does help, so you're gonna get mainly pushback from brand, you know, and then it goes back to. Medical legal after that normally and legal medical legal will often support or ask for what you knew should be there in the first place. Right? So what I've started doing is when I get the pushback from brand, I mention to them that Sure I can put that in, but just so you're aware that is not substantial with any published data and really sounds promotional and it will be cut back in medical legal. So, you know, and sometimes they're like, oh, okay. So maybe we won't put in sometimes I don't know. We want it in like, okay. And then when it goes to medical legal and it's cut back, they know. They, they see that. And then I can use that as an example, if they want me to add the similar statement in the future. Well, yeah, I added it last time, but you remember medical legal cut it. I can add it again, but you know, they did cut it last time. So, so just setting up the history with the client over time, I think we'll build the confidence that the client will have on you initially. You'll definitely have more pushback, especially from brand, but as. See that some of the advice you're giving really comes through in medical legal, you know, they will begin to not push back as much.

Alex Howson:

Hopefully I think that's, that's really great advice and I can hear the calmness in your voice and the, the firmness in your voice that I'm sure you use with, with clients as well. And that can only be a win-win situation for both you and for, for them. So thank you for sharing that. We talked a little bit, or you mentioned earlier on about the importance of needs assessments. So I just want to kind of switch gears a little bit to focus on what needs assessments, the role that they play as kind of key elements of defining not only education, but also sales training, you know, and maybe that needs assessment looks a little bit different. What do you see as the best way to approach needs assessments in both these areas?

Ruwaida Vakil:

So I think one of the things with needs assessments is they've evolved a lot in the last 20 some years. I remember when I first entered medical education, our needs assessment was, oh, just pull up a paper, you know that's published that kind of talks about, you know, these issues, what issues oh. Issues in this area. That's. That's all we would submit is just a published paper. We wouldn't sit down and try to define gaps and learning objectives and all of the stuff that we do now. So I really like the way needs assessments have evolved. Now, I think they're headed in the great in, in the right direction where they're focused more on gaps you know, needs assessments even before now used to be focused on just learning objectives. So you would have your client give you learning objectives and say, okay, now develop the needs assessment. Yeah. But this learning objective has to be based on a gap, you know? So and, and I'm using the term gap. I'll define it. I think it's important to define it up front. So you know, people understand it. So the way the way it is defined. is, I think there is a proper ACCME definition. So it's a professional practice gap. And according to the ACCME when it's a gap, when there's a gap between what the professional is doing or accomplishing compared to what's achievable based on current professional knowledge. So that is something I think we really need to keep in mind as we develop needs assessment. So it's a difference between what is observed and in practice and what is potentially achievable based on what's out there. And so if I, I literally try to think of it as two different boxes when I'm writing a needs assessment. So, and, and so it's the transition to that. That is your needs as. So the gap is foundational to developing needs assessments.

Alex Howson:

How do you absolutely approach the process of developing a needs assessment? In relation to the different elements that are required in, in, in a needs assessment.

Ruwaida Vakil:

So it depends on what's provided sometimes needs needs assessments are written a according to an RFP that a pharmaceutical company puts out. So I usually take a look at their RFP and kind of try to see what areas they wanna have education in. I think the best way to approach a needs assessment though, is. To base it, to look at outcomes, data from previous programs that a company, a med ed company has done that are similar. That is a similar program because I. That can provide you a great source of gaps, because if you have done an educational program in it, and then you have outcomes data, you can say, oh, well, they clearly, you know, need more education and this, that, and the other, and that can be the basis of your needs assessment. When I, when I try to think of gaps, I, I try to put them in three different categories. So there's an inferred gap of verbalized, which is a verbalized gap, which is more learner defined which is like evaluation forms and surveys, and then gaps that exist from statistics that are available. So an inferred gap is usually something like, for example, if there's a new treatment guideline that came out or a new, you know, a. Class of medications or novel technologies in diagnosis or biomarkers. For example, those are all things that need that, you know, physicians need to be educated. So that's an inferred gap. Mm-hmm verbalized gaps, I think are the strongest form of gaps because they're learner defined that you would get from your outcomes. Data evaluation, forms, surveys, even requests for education. The RFPs, for example, have for verbalized gaps and then you have gaps from statistics. That's just epidemiological data morbidity and mortality stats for a particular disease. Even if you're going to the professional society. Pages for the therapeutic area you're looking at, they have identified gaps there. Mm-hmm so those are different ways of looking at gaps and where you can derive information for them. And it, it does certainly seem to be the case that there are more sources of potential gaps available to consult. Now, when writers are engaged in, in developing needs assessments, And the kind of needs assessment that we're talking about here is a kind of fairly traditional, I think written document that is gonna be used to support a request for funding you know, an education activity or, or program by.

Alex Howson:

Some education provider, you mentioned medical education companies, but you know, could be a medical society or some kind of association. Are you involved in any other kinds of needs assessments or familiar with any other kinds of needs assessments? Perhaps in the, in the training world, do you know instructional designers, for instance, always say there has to be a needs assessment for you know, to develop any kind of, of, of training. What are you seeing in that side of your work? People might talk about in terms of a needs assessment.

Ruwaida Vakil:

So I haven't really done needs assessments in sales trainings, per se, all the needs assessments I've done are for CME. I've done mostly sales training modules and infographics and things like that for sales training, which have already, I guess, defined a needs for that and do you get access to the kind of information that they've already sort of defined and, and laid out to guide the development of the sales training? Not always, no. No. Okay. So you're kind of starting from scratch there. Usually developing. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So implicitly developing a needs assessment as a foundation for developing the sales training materials, I'm assuming. Yeah. I think it becomes integrated, especially when you're developing a module. Right. So right. It, it, it is because you have to provide the disease background. You have to talk about the, you know, the, the agents available and things like that. So that is kind of what we end up doing in a needs assessment. So I think. it becomes a part of what I develop, but isn't, you know, something I develop separately. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks. Yeah. Thanks for, for clarifying that you mentioned when we were talking earlier, you talked about that distinction between educational and promotional material. How do you manage that balance?

Alex Howson:

In, in the work that you do? You know, you talked a little bit about pushback. Are there other things that you're kind of looking out for when you're working in these, in these two different areas?

Ruwaida Vakil:

So one of the things you have to recognize is that when you're, when you're working in sales training, you're obviously gonna be talking about your client's product more and positioning it in a certain way that you won't be positioning if you're doing CME. So there's definitely an implicit promotional nature to it. You know, when we're. Dealing in CME, we always have to make sure everything is balanced. You know, when you're doing a sales training module, yes. You will mention competitor products, but you will still focus more on your client's products. So I think that is the main distinction I find. And as a medical writer, that's focused on maintaining the scientific integrity of all the documents I work on. The main thing I have to make sure of is that as long as it's citable and it is something that. Has been published and is verifiable to me. I'm comfortable with that. Cuz I understand sales training is sales training.

Alex Howson:

Right, right. It's it's it's qualitatively distinct and you're talking about Sources of evidence, things that are published, things that are citable, what do you recommend as good resources or good sites for medical writers and other practitioners involved in developing needs assessments to look at, to support a really kind of robust assessment.

Ruwaida Vakil:

So definitely I think that a good medical literature review is absolutely important wherever citable to peer reviewed publications. So you wanna look on PubMed specifically? Not all publications are listed on PubMed, but the ones that are listed are more reputable. So it is important to try to see as much as possible that your medical literature review is from sources that are listed on PubMed. They are professional society pages, like as I mentioned before, as a great resource for looking at statistics and you can even look at some of the other programs that, that they have developed and they identify a lot of needs on those society pages. And then of course there are statistics and trends in healthcare, which you can, you. Get from lots of different sources as well. Their clinical trials.gov is another great site. I think that's very, very important because when you're writing a needs assessment or even sales training, you want the latest you know, clinical trial information for that product. And it's not always published so you can get at least the, you know, The study and how it was set out. And a lot of that basic information from clinical trials.gov, they oftentimes do list references, but I found that's not really comprehensive because many times something has been published and they won't list it there. And then of course, you know, going to, I work a lot in oncology. So ASCO and ESMO, abstracts and presentations are a great resource as well. And ASCO abstracts are published and free, freely available in the journal of clinical oncology. So those kind of. I think are a great source. And you mentioned earlier that you appreciate the way that needs assessments are evolving. Can you speak a little more to that? Well, I love the fact that they focus more on gaps. You know, it used to really irk me when, when a client would give me learning objectives and say, okay, developer needs assessment. I'm like, well, where are these derived from? Like, did you just like, get them off the top of your head? Like this? I, what am I supposed to write here? So I really like that. So then that's usually, and it's not like it doesn't happen now. You'll still have clients give you learning objectives, but then you have to, you know, step back and say, okay, I see their objective. Let me see if I can see. If I have a gap to substantiate that, and I find that clients are, you know, being more educated on what is a needs assessment. And you know, we have, I've developed material for AMWA, for example, on how to write a needs assessment. I've, co-authored a learning guide which is available at AMWA. We have I've worked with Don Harting and. Done presentations at the Alliance as well on how to develop needs assessments. I have done presentations on my own at MACCME on how to develop needs assessments defining gaps and stuff. So it really has been an education and understanding what is involved in developing needs assessments. And those are now citable. So I can bring that back to a client and say, well, you know, this is sort of best practices. Don has been doing surveys for years and you know, those assignable as well. These are the. this is the way that it should be written. And, and I think, again, this, this goes back to the pushback that a writer does have to do with a client. I think it, I think when you, when you have sources to back yourself up, you know, you feel a bit more confident in, in pushing back a bit. And I think you'd be surprised at how clients value you when you just don't say, oh, I'll just do it just the way you like and no pushback, you know, I think it's important.

Alex Howson:

Because part of the value is they learn too. And exactly. And so I'm kind of wondering you know, how much, you know, you mentioned that you're finding that clients are more educated around needs assessment. How much of that education have you been doing for your clients?

Ruwaida Vakil:

So, I mean, I definitely do Sometimes when I, when I'm working with a new client, I will send them some of the resources that I have developed. For example, like the poster that we won at the Alliance, the award for, and the survey data. And I do have a little bit of the learning resource on am. One that I can provide as well as a sample. And I think. Providing that information up front also validates me as a needs assessment writer and helps them understand what's involved in that. And then, you know, we talk about templates and if they have templates and if they have a style that, you know, they prefer that I use. Those are all, it all becomes part of that initial conversation. And we'll make sure to link some of those C sources in the show notes so that listeners can get access to the work that you've done in this, in this area.

Alex Howson:

Are there any other things that we haven't touched on in relation to either needs assessment specifically or. The approach to developing materials for continuing medical education, continuing education in general.

Ruwaida Vakil:

I think we've talked about, we've touched on a lot of different things. I think it's really important for writers to remain current in their area. So, you know, you always have that, you know, down downtime between projects and things like that. So I think it's important to remain current in your area. If you've worked with the client before and you know, there will repeat client try to bring value. To your relationship with them. For example, you know, I have a client that regularly updates you know, data from their, for, for their client based on ASCO and ESMO, for example. And so if I am able to tell them, oh yeah, you know, I know that this pharmaceutical company is gonna. Releasing data at ASCO or ESMO, we should probably think about updating this resource or that resource, you know, that gives them a heads up and, and then adds value add, you know, makes them see me as a more valuable contributor. And then they would come to me for that. So, and that's good for when you have downtime and you, you know, you know, you're looking for more projects rather than reaching out to a client and saying, oh, I'm available for more work. Maybe try to think about the kind of work. they need, you know, and, and say, well, you know, I know this, this is coming up. You'll need to update this. I'm available. If you need me to, you know, that kind of thing. And now you've provided them with something that they can now get paid for, because they can go out to their client and say, this is a need. And it's, it's shown them some value for you as. That's a fantastic tip.

Alex Howson:

I'm I think a lot of new to the field writers are probably a little bit cautious about that kind of approach, but it works and it's a form of generosity. And as you say, you, you. You increase the value that you're bringing to not only your client, but to the field of continuing medical education and continuing education in general Rudwaida Vakil Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom with us on Write Medicine. And I look forward to talking to you again soon.

Ruwaida Vakil:

Thanks Alex. It was a pleasure speaking to you and thank you so much for inviting me to be on. I appreciate it.

Alex Howson:

As you can tell Ruwaida is a highly experienced writer of needs assessments and has developed an effective system for ensuring that these kinds of CME/CE deliverables are framed by fair balance. Detailed gaps in clinical practice. Describe the likely education required to address those gaps and foreshadow the anticipated outcomes that education could generate. Her professional trajectory is somewhat typical of many writers working in the CME/ CE field. Coming from bench science. But like, many Write medicine, guests as a bench scientist, she was unaware that CME/ CE was even a career option for people who want to meld science and writing. I think on this episode, Ruwaida shared many valuable lessons for people considering a move into CME/ CE writing, or for CME/CE writers who are considering working freelance. For instance establishing a CME/ CE writing niche can be highly rewarding and sustainable. Especially if you niche down even further by establishing yourself as an expert in writing needs assessments. Direct energy into marketing yourself as a CME/ CE writer to ensure a steady stream of valuable and valued clients. Working with marketing experts such as Lori DiMilto and Ilise Benun of marketing mentor-- necessary business investments for freelancers. Develop relationship management skills. This can only help you as a CME/CE writer or as a planner, designers, strategists in education or in sales training. It's essential for those moments. When, you know, you need to challenge the basis for claims that are being made for content. And to help you stand your ground for fair balance and content integrity. Ruwaida also pointed us to many credible and trustworthy sources for identifying clinical or professional practice gaps beyond pub med, including professional society websites, clinical trials.gov and conference abstracts. In fact, Ruwaida has generously shared a range of resources for listeners, which you can access in the show notes. And Ruwaida emphasized the importance of using downtime to remain current in your specialist area. You can always share new insights with clients and position yourself as a valuable partner in their work. Thanks for listening to this episode. As always, I'd love to hear what you think. About this episode and the podcast in general, which topics would you like to hear more about? And who would you like to hear from? You can email me, write a podcast review on apple podcasts or whichever platform you listen on. And also use SpeakPipe direct from the podcast page on my website. And if you haven't yet joined the Write Medicine community, there's a link to join in the show notes as a thank you. You'll receive downloadable bonus content from And finally in response to the many questions I get about writing needs assessments, I'm offering a four week hands-on workshop. On writing needs assessments, that's designed to support deliberate practice with expert feedback. When is this happening? On Mondays at 12 noon Pacific time. From October the 31st to November, the 21st. Let me know if you have questions and when you're ready to register, you can do so via a link in the show notes where you're also find more information about what to expect for each week of this workshop. Until next time. I'm your host, Alex Howson and this is Write Medicine.

Introducing Ruwaida
How do you decide on the kind of materials to write as a new writer?
The value of having a science background
The role of writers in maintaining content integrity
How to approach developing a needs assessment
Managing the distinction between education and promotional content
Writers can educate clients about best practices in needs assessments
Take aways