• Town Hall Meetings Next Step for Future of Family Medicine Project

    If you haven't shared your thoughts on Family Medicine for America's Health: Future of Family Medicine 2.0, it's not too late. In our latest update on this important initiative, you will find research results about family medicine reported this month at a Working Party meeting, a new set of questions being asked related to this project, details about a series of virtual town hall meetings scheduled to begin Jan. 29 and much more.

    Family Medicine for America's Health: Future of Family Medicine 2.0

    Organizational Update No. 5

    Jan. 23, 2014

    Work on the Family Medicine for America's Health: Future of Family Medicine 2.0 initiative continues. As a reminder, the purpose of this effort is to develop a multi-year strategic plan and communications program to address the role of family medicine in the changing health care landscape. To read earlier monthly updates from FFM 2.0, please visit the project Web page.

    The Working Party, along with the FFM 2.0 Steering Committee and Core Teams, held a meeting in mid-January to inform and guide the project. A retreat will be held in mid-February that will include approximately 60 members of the family medicine community and 40 external stakeholders, including payers, patient advocates, employers and providers outside of family medicine. The goal is to help family medicine narrow in on its strategic commitments for the next five to seven years.

    Following is an update on the current progress and status of the FFM 2.0 project.

    Strategic Plan

    CFAR, the consulting firm leading the strategic planning process, has finalized the "current state" analysis and developed three scenarios that illustrate possible future states for family medicine based on different strategy choices. CFAR co-developed these scenarios with the Core Team, the Steering Committee and the Insight Groups. The Insight Groups include medical students, residents and young leaders in family medicine who are in their early years of practice. Each of the seven family medicine organizations nominated two participants to each of the groups.

    Communications Plan

    APCO Worldwide, which is leading the communications planning, has completed qualitative and quantitative opinion research that will inform their recommendations. Recently, APCO conducted a quantitative survey of 1,871 individuals across three primary audiences:

    • Patients: 800 interviews with general population adults in the United States;
    • Business and policy community: 271 interviews (96 with health care policymakers, 100 with employers/purchasers, 75 with health care payers); and
    • Medical professionals: 800 interviews (400 interviews with physicians [150 family physicians, 100 other primary care, 150 subspecialists] 300 with medical students and residents, 100 with nurse practitioners and physician assistants).

    Following is a summary of the findings presented at the January Working Party meeting:

    • Family physicians are viewed very favorably by all stakeholders, especially patients. At least three of four stakeholders across audiences have a favorable view of family physicians and provide positive comments when asked why they rated family physicians the way they did.
    • Family physicians' broad scope of knowledge, ability to treat entire families and caring nature are key themes that define family physicians positively.
    • When asked about which member of the primary care community will have the biggest impact on the health care system, family physicians are selected most frequently across every stakeholder audience.
    • Audiences believe that coordinating care, treating the whole person and using technology to improve patient care are the most exciting ways family physicians can engage in the new health care system.
    • At least three of four stakeholders across the audiences feel that family physicians should focus more on preventive and chronic care versus acute care.
    • The research shows that family physicians do a good job of connecting emotionally with stakeholders. The emotional connections audiences have to family physicians are important to identifying the right tone for communications positioning and the campaign.

    Based on this and earlier research, APCO will develop recommendations on how to communicate the value and role of family medicine to external audiences. Concepts will be tested further in focus groups with various audiences.

    Seeking Your Input

    Your feedback is critical to this process. We welcome and encourage your comments and questions and have a dedicated email address for input. Since our first report on this initiative, we have received hundreds of comments to this address, and all have been very valuable to the Steering Committee and Core Team.

    APCO would welcome your input on the following questions as they build the communications plan:

    • Are there specific issues you believe family medicine should be advocating around? For example, prevention, chronic disease, mental health, etc.
    • Given the diversity of family medicine practices, do you believe there is a way to deliver a consistent "product" or set of services to patients regardless of geography or patient panel demographics?  If so, what would that look like?
    • Are there emerging technologies that family medicine should/can embrace to provide better care for patients or improvements to the health care system overall?

    Please share your thoughts at futurefm@aafp.org.

    Family Medicine Virtual Town Hall Meetings

    In addition, we are holding a series of virtual town hall meetings to hear from practicing family physicians around the country. After a brief overview of the project so far, we would like to hear from you about the issues that will be most critical to address in family medicine's strategic plan. We are very pleased that Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., past president of the AAFP, will be hosting the town hall conversations. 

    The first virtual town hall meeting is on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 8:00 p.m. EST. There will be two additional town hall meetings on Feb. 26 at 8:00 p.m. EST and March 26 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

    To register for the first town hall meeting, please click on this link:

    Jeff Cain, M.D., is Board Chair of the AAFP.


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