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Am Fam Physician. 1998;57(2):195

This issue of American Family Physician contains three patient information handouts: “Taking HIV Medicines on Schedule” (page 328), “Using Insulin Lispro” (page 289), and “The Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator” (page 310). These are just some examples of the high-quality patient information that is adding to AFP's reputation for excellence. Again last year, AFP won several National Health Information Awards for its outstanding patient information material. These awards have been presented annually by the National Health Information Center since 1994. This is the first program of its kind to recognize the nation's best health information materials.

In 1997, over 900 entries for the awards program were classified according to type of material and then judged on the basis of their accuracy, creativity and overall excellence by a panel of health information experts. Three of AFP's patient information handouts published in 1996 received the 1997 awards: “Women and HIV Infection” (October 1996, page 1554), “What Parents Can Do to Change Their Child's Behavior” (January 1996, page 267), and “Breast Feeding and Bottle Feeding” (July 1996, page 147).

The quality of the patient information materials in AFP is no accident: Each patient information handout undergoes an extensive process of development and review, beginning with the clinical experience and expertise of an author, and continuing with further editing and revision by AFP's medical editors. This is followed by another round of editing and revision by a panel of manuscript editors and patient information specialists who ensure that the handout is complete, clear and tailored to an appropriate reading level.

This program of quality assurance evolved from experience gained over several years of publishing patient information. AFP first began publishing patient information handouts with selected articles about seven years ago. Since then, we have been publishing increasing numbers of handouts each year in response to a growing interest in this resource. By the end of last year, the total number of handouts published in AFP reached over 250.

Most of these patient information handouts are available to readers and the general public on the Academy's World Wide Web site ( Handouts on particular subjects can be found by skimming the classification available on the patient information home page or by using a search engine that is also available there. The handouts are also available at

To help readers find specific patient information handouts in the journal, a patient information index is published in the June and December issues along with the subject/author index.

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