Be sure to carve out a few minutes this weekend to keep your Academy focused on the things that make it easier for you to do the work of improving the health of your patients and your community.
The AAFP has surveyed a random sample of members about their priorities and their satisfaction with the Academy's work every year since 1992. But on Feb. 25 -- for the first time -- every single active member (that's about 70,000 family physicians) will receive the Member Satisfaction Survey by email. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to fill out, and members are asked to return it within a week.
In addition to the email, 5,000 randomly selected members will receive a paper version of the survey in the mail next month to allow comparison of results from the different formats.
The expanded survey could not have come at a more important time.
"This is a time of monumental change in health care that directly impacts our members, their practices and their patients," said AAFP EVP and CEO Douglas Henley, M.D.
The AAFP will carefully review the survey results within the context of its Board-approved strategic plan to inform decisions about the actions needed to better serve members' needs.
Among other queries, the survey will ask what members value, whether the amount of email the Academy sends is appropriate and how useful they find the AAFP website to be.
A key question will ask members to list their top priorities for the bulk of the Academy's work, choosing from among a wide range of topics such as providing top-notch educational opportunities, shaping value-based payment models to benefit family physicians and reducing administrative tasks.
The large dataset from this year's survey will help the Academy see what resources and other efforts members need to succeed in their practices and their careers. It will show the particular needs of osteopathic and allopathic members, for instance, as well as those for men, women, practice owners, employed physicians and other member segments.
"We always attempt to best represent our members, who express a wide diversity of opinions," Henley said. "With this survey, we will seek to better understand our members' broad needs and identify where we need to focus our energy and resources within this changing environment."
After the answers are tabulated and analyzed, members who completed the survey will receive a summary of the key findings so they will know what their fellow family physicians are asking their Academy to do for them.
Going forward, the AAFP will check on the needs of family physicians by sending an annual survey to a random sample of members, but staff plan to dive deep by also surveying all active members every few years.
It's a labor-intensive effort, but it will keep the Academy focused on the work that matters most.
"We genuinely want to hear how we are doing and what we can do better," said Henley, "and the only ones who can tell us that are our members."