Teach a man to fish, and he’ll starve … until he can get his hands on a fish hook and line.
Fam Pract Manag. 2005 Oct;12(9):10.
If you are a regular reader of Family Practice Management, you know that we try to make sure you have both the knowledge and the tools you need to do your job. I’m not talking about stethoscopes, reflex hammers and specula; those you’ve got already. I’m talking about the protocols, flow sheets, special-purpose calculators, chart reminders, coding references, patient handouts, checklists, decision trees, encounter forms – all the things you don’t just read in the journal but tear out or copy to use.
Unlike most journals, FPM devotes a good deal of time and energy to finding or building tools you may find useful. We want you to be able to fish, not just to know how. Check out the “Tools in This Issue” box that appears on first page of the Table of Contents in every issue. As you’ll see, the October offering contains a couple of tools: a job description questionnaire useful in clarifying the roles of staff members and a coding form designed to help make sure you don’t short-change yourself or risk claim rejection by coding skin procedures incorrectly.
As with all FPM tools, these two are published not in isolation but together with articles that explain their importance and their use. Each tool comes with its own user’s manual, so to speak.
But you won’t truly appreciate the value of FPM’s tools until you have spent a few minutes browsing through the whole collection. Over time, the FPM Toolbox has accumulated scores of tools useful in a huge variety of practice contexts. You’ll find them all, neatly organized, on the FPM Web site. Just go to http://www.aafp.org/fpm and follow the FPM Toolbox link. You can use the index list at the top to find your way quickly to the tool you want and its source article. Depending on the tool, you’ll be able to download a PDF version, an editable Word file or an interactive Excel worksheet. These tools can help you deliver the best possible care, get the best possible reimbursement for it, delegate tasks to increase productivity, evaluate electronic health records systems and more. Our toolbox is open and easily available – and we let you borrow our tools and not return them. Help yourself. Help your practice.
Robert Edsall, Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2005 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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