The AAFP has launched two new specialized communities on its AAFP Connection (members only) social networking site that give members a place to offer input on the work of the AAFP and to reach out to members interested in electronic health records, or EHRs, and other health information technology.
The AAFP designed the marketing research online community to provide a place for members to share their thoughts about the work of the Academy. Community members are encouraged to voice their opinions and provide feedback about CME, health care reform and other important topics. That feedback will help drive AAFP decisions on product innovation, marketing campaigns, public relations and grant development.
The marketing research community is somewhat different from the other communities on AAFP Connection in that it is by invitation only and its content can only be viewed by other marketing research community members and AAFP staff members. According to staff members in the AAFP's Marketing Research Department, membership is by invitation only so the department can maintain a balance of member characteristics, such as gender, years since residency, age and other factors. This will ensure that any market research done through this group will represent all members of the AAFP and not just a small component.
Periodically, members of the marketing research community will be asked to share their feedback on AAFP programs, products and changes being considered via polls, blogs, discussions and surveys. These communication vehicles allow members of the community "a unique opportunity to share opinions and directly shape the future of the AAFP," according to information from the AAFP's Marketing Research Department.
Academy members can request membership in the marketing research community online or by e-mailing AAFP Marketing Research Specialist Anne Dwyer.
The EHR and health IT community is a place for AAFP members interested in EHRs and health IT to reach out to one another. Community members have access to a variety of discussions on health technology topics. They also have access to a Wiki on health IT, as well as related media files and other documents.
According to community administrator Jason Mitchell, M.D., assistant division director in the AAFP's Center for Health IT, the EHR and health IT community "is a place for members to set the agenda and learn from each other."
"The EHR and health IT community on AAFP Connection provides a learning and sharing environment and tool set like nothing available to AAFP members in the past," said Mitchell. "This AAFP members-only environment is a safe place to freely share stories, experiences and best practices."