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March 7, 1980

Can We Afford Maximum Quality in Medical Educational Materials?

JAMA. 1980;243(9):929-930. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300350081008

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Educational quality is measured by efficiency plus effectiveness and is dependent on the validity of content as well as on how completely and clearly the subject is communicated. Successful communications depends on the selection of the optimum medium for each given task, plus knowledge of and skill in the use of that medium. The taking of pains is equally needed. There is no escape from it—meeting these criteria costs time and money. Are the greater costs of maximum educational quality justified?

Consider the following:

  1. It costs as much to distribute poor-quality materials as to distribute those designed and produced with much greater care and bigger budgets.

  2. The expense of large-scale distribution is always as much as, or greater than, the outlay for production.

  3. Conversely, when materials are distributed nationwide, the costs of design and production are usually but a small percentage of the total expenditure. For instance,