Am Fam Physician. 2000 Dec 1;62(11):2389.
The past decade brought AFP new ways of keeping in touch with readers—such as e-mail, voice mail, focus groups and mass surveys—adding to traditional modes of communication. No matter how we keep in touch, we still find that the more feedback we receive from readers, the better. First of all, we love getting fan mail. Who wouldn't? We often receive handwritten letters or postcards from readers who have taken the time to write, simply to let us know we're doing a great job. We also hear from readers who send along a critical comment or suggestion, topped off with a sprinkle of sugar (“We thought you went overboard with that last story, but we love your journal; keep up the good work!”). Some letters omit the sugar and get straight to the point, and we rely on those to keep us humble. Sweet or sharp, these letters are routed to staff so everyone gets a chance to learn what readers do and don't like.
Even better than fan mail, though, is the chance to meet readers in person, and this is what we did when we packed up our show and went on tour at the 2000 AAFP Annual Scientific Assembly in Dallas. Granted, our “tour” consisted of a short flight from Kansas City to Dallas and back, and our “show” was a booth on the exhibit hall floor—and we didn't exactly have as big a draw as Reba McEntire—but we did manage to talk with nearly 500 readers who stopped by to take a short survey. Here's what we learned:
Ninety-six percent of visitors who filled out a survey are regular readers of AFP. (This, of course, was not surprising, since nonreaders are probably less likely to stop at the booth.)
Eight-seven percent of readers, like me, keep back issues of AFP. (Better have a solid bookcase.)
Readers spend an average of 2.29 hours with each issue of AFP. (Multiply that by 1,000 and you might be getting close to how many hours AFP's editors spend with each issue.)
Nearly two-thirds of readers complete at least one AFP quiz each year for credit. (Why not rely on AFP for CME? AFP will offer over 100 hours of CME credit this year, and quizzes can be taken online—see instructions on page 2399. Quizzes can still be completed up to one year after the date of the issue.)
Less than one-fourth of readers have tried AFP on CD-ROM. (Why not consider purchasing six years of AFP on a single disk? If you haven't looked into this lately, you might reconsider: AFP is continually looking for ways of improving the disk, and newer technology has led to lower pricing. For more information, call the AAFP order department at 800-944-0000 or go to www.aafp.org/catalog/cme/afpcdrom.html.)
Best of all, we learned that 85 percent of readers are finding that every single issue of AFP offers information of immediate use in their practices. (But how can we help the rest of you?)
In this issue of AFP, you'll notice a slight change in the table of contents: editorials related to articles are now highlighted under their companion article to make this important commentary easier for readers to find, thanks to a recent reader suggestion. Whatever method you choose to reach us, don't stop talking. At AFP, your voice does count.
Copyright © 2000 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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