Editorials

The Continuing Evolution of AFP Online

 

Am Fam Physician. 2015 May 1;91(9):600.

For most of its existence, American Family Physician (AFP) came in a single format: a print journal that was delivered by mail at regular intervals. AFP continues to thrive in print, with a circulation of more than 180,000. Starting with the launch of AFP's website, we have been continually working to improve the online and digital experience for our readers.

Published content has been archived online starting in 1998. Our website receives more than 2 million unique visitors each month, and almost 120,000 readers receive the e-mail table of contents for each new issue. The website is optimized for mobile viewing, and in fact, approximately 40% of website visitors view our pages on a mobile device.

Five years ago, we began organizing online content into more than 60 AFP By Topic collections, which allow readers to easily locate our best available information on a subject. The AFP By Topic app is available for Apple and Android devices, and has been downloaded almost 60,000 times since April 2011. Readers have told us that they use AFP By Topic as a “virtual textbook” to refresh their knowledge of specific topics; as a study aid for the American Board of Family Medicine recertification examination; and to look up information at the point of care.

More than 48,000 readers have downloaded the AFP Journal app, which not only provides a digital replica of the print edition, but also contains bonus content, such as patient education handouts and AFP By Topic collection pages. The journal app allows users to bookmark content, share articles with colleagues, and download issues for offline reading. It is available for Apple, Android, and Kindle Fire devices.

One of our most popular features, Photo Quiz, is also available as an interactive app for Apple and Android devices, allowing physicians and students to try their skill at diagnosing conditions, based on a photograph and clinical scenario, at any time and from anywhere. Amost 2,000 readers have downloaded this app. You can get more information on all AFP apps at http://www.aafp.org/journals/afp/explore/app.html.

In March 2012, we initiated a feature that allows members of the American Academy of Family Physicians and paid AFP subscribers to post comments about content online. We have received nearly 1,000 comments so far, and quite a few have helped us correct or clarify important clinical issues.

We also engage readers in conversations through several different social media channels. These include Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AFPJournal) posts to more than 8,000 followers; tweets from @AFPJournal (https://twitter.com/AFPJournal) to more than 4,400 followers; and weekly posts on the AFP Community Blog (http://afpjournal.blogspot.com), which averages about 8,000 page views per month. On the blog, contributing editor Jennifer Middleton, MD, MPH, and I offer original perspectives on issues important to family physicians, such as supporting planned vaginal birth after cesarean delivery1 and counseling parents about vaccine safety,2 and we provide updates about high-impact guidelines.3

To offer readers timely information on major developments in medicine, we publish selected AFP content online ahead of print. This includes information on additions to the Choosing Wisely campaign4 and commentaries on controversial topics, such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment.5

We will continue to explore new ways to deliver even more timely and relevant content in the journal's print, online, and mobile forms, to keep AFP the best-read journal in primary care. If you have comments or suggestions, e-mail us at afpjournal@aafp.org.

editor's note: Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, is the associate deputy editor for AFP Online.

Address correspondence to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, at kwl4@georgetown.edu. Reprints are not available from the author.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.

 

REFERENCES

show all references

1. Lin K. Once a cesarean...now, a vaginal delivery. AFP Community Blog. Feb. 2, 2015. http://afpjournal.blogspot.com/2015/02/once-cesarean-now-vaginal-delivery.html. Accessed April 19, 2015....

2. Middleton J. Effective vaccine counseling: ask, acknowledge, respond. AFP Community Blog. Feb. 9, 2015. http://afpjournal.blogspot.com/2015/02/effective-vaccine-counseling-ask.html. Accessed April 19, 2015.

3. Middleton J. JNC 8–hypertension management may never be the same. AFP Community Blog. Dec. 23, 2013. http://afpjournal.blogspot.com/2013/12/jnc-8-hypertension-management-may-never.html. Accessed May 2, 2014.

4. Siwek J, Lin KW. More ways to improve health and reduce harm: Choosing Wisely phase 3. Am Fam Physician. 2014;89(5):329.

5. Herzstein J, Ebell M. Improving quality by doing less: overtreatment. Am Fam Physician. 2015;91(5):289–291.


 

Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

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