Feb 1999 Table of Contents

Editor's Page

Bringing You Knowledge in Small Bites



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Fam Pract Manag. 1999 Feb;6(2):9.

First, in case you missed the January issue, which introduced our new design, some reassurance: Yes, this is still Family Practice Management. The cover has changed, we've changed the look of our pages, we've increased the number and variety of articles, and we've added some new departments (see the January “Editor's Page,” and check out the table of contents for this issue). It's still the same journal; we hope it's just a bit more readable and more useful to you.

One of the less noticeable steps we've taken to add value to FPM, but one that I think you'll appreciate particularly, is to increase the number of “knowledge bites” we publish. (Like the sound bites that have taken over the evening news broadcasts in the past 20 years, knowledge bites are short and easy to absorb. Unlike sound bites, though, knowledge bites are intended to leave you better off — knowing something you didn't know before, seeing from a perspective you hadn't had before or reminded of an insight you had lost track of.)

Even though I know as well as anyone what we've been trying to do, I was a little surprised at the number of knowledge bites I found when I reviewed the contents of this issue:

And that's not even counting the numerous summary points in Speed-bars throughout the main articles and the key points listed at the beginning of each of those articles. Each of these is a knowledge bite itself.

Meals as well as bites

Of course, just as the better news organizations realize that the world can't be captured in sound bites, we recognize that you can't practice well on an information diet made up entirely of knowledge bites. That's why Family Practice Management will continue to offer substantial articles on a variety of topics, articles such as this issue's cover story on clinical policies, by Thomas T. Gilbert, MD, MPH, and Julie Scott Taylor, MD.

Supporting clinical practice

By the way, if you're wondering why Family Practice Management should concern itself with so clinical a topic as clinical policies, the answer is simple. While FPM is about practice management, the primary purpose of practice management is to support clinical practice. The realm of our subject matter extends all the way from designing exam rooms through staff management and contract negotiation to ... well, to clinical policies and clinical quality improvement. That's part of what we've tried to convey by the changes we've made in the “name-plate” at the top of the cover: By making the word Management smaller relative to the words Family Practice, we've tried to emphasize the extent to which our subject matter is coextensive with family practice itself.

An internist once told me she specialized in “the skin and its contents, excluding babies.” Setting aside, for a moment, the contrast between that and the way you might tend to explain what you specialize in, I'd like to borrow the form in order to explain that what FPM specializes in is your professional life and its contents, excluding pure diagnosis and treatment.

Robert Edsall is editor-in-chief of Family Practice Management.

Copyright © 1999 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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