AAFP to Publish Consumer Health Magazine for Physicians' Waiting Rooms
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is partnering with Boston Hannah, a consumer publishing company, to produce a consumer health magazine focusing on health and wellness issues for the entire family. The publication, Family Doctor: Your Essential Guide to Health and Wellbeing, will be distributed to patients through family physicians' waiting rooms beginning in the first quarter of 2004. The magazine will provide patients with tools and tips to help them become active partners in their health care and enhance their understanding of a wide variety of health and wellness issues. It will be updated annually to provide the latest available information on treatments and medicines for common conditions and health concerns, such as diabetes, hypertension, contraception, heartburn, and allergies and asthma. Family Doctor will be supported by commercial advertising and will be provided free-of-charge to AAFP member physicians' practices. More than 500,000 copies of the publication will be made available to be used as permanent copies in family physicians' waiting rooms, as personal copies handed out on request to patients by their AAFP physician, and for purchase for a nominal fee on www.familydoctor.org, the AAFP's consumer Web site.
CDC Releases Revised Travel Health Information Resource
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a revised travel health resource to assist travelers in planning safe trips abroad and to provide health care professionals with a reference for administering pre-travel and post-travel counseling and care to their patients. The new edition, Health Information for International Travel, 2003–2004 (the Yellow Book), includes vaccination and medication information for disease risks by destination and helpful hints for cruise ship travel, international adoptions, and motion sickness. Additional new health topics include information on scuba diving, high altitude travel, travelers with special needs, traveling with children, new recommendations for preventing malaria, changes in vaccine recommendations for travelers, and changes in recommendations for insect repellent use. The CDC also has two Web sites devoted to travel information. At www.cdc.gov/travel/yb/index.htm, travelers can look up specific information by travel destination, and view or print custom reports based on individual travel plans. The Travelers' Health Web site (www.cdc.gov/travel) is updated as new information becomes available. To order the Yellow Book, which is updated every two years, contact the Public Health Foundation at 877-252-1200 or go online to bookstore.phf.org/prod159.htm.
HHS Launches Efforts to Build a National Electronic Health Care System
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced two new steps in creating a paperless health care system that will allow patients and their physicians to access their complete medical records anytime and anywhere in an effort to reduce medical errors, improve patient care, and reduce health care costs. To establish a common medical language for a unified electronic medical record system, HHS has signed an agreement with the College of American Pathologists to license the College's standardized medical vocabulary system and make it available without cost throughout the United States. HHS also has commissioned the Institute of Medicine to design a standardized model of an electronic health record.
Statistics Show U.S. Birth Rate Reached a Record Low in 2002
According to study results published in a report by the CDC, the U.S. birth rate in 2002 fell to 13.9 births per 1,000 persons (4,019,280 births), the lowest level since national data have been available. The report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2002,” cited a smaller proportion of women of childbearing age in the U.S. population as the main reason for the decline of 1 percent from the rate of 14.1 births per 1,000 persons in 2001. Birth rates among females 15 to 19 years of age declined 5 percent from 2001 to 43 births per 1,000 persons. The percent of low birth weight infants (infants born weighing less than 2,500 g [5 lb, 8 oz]) increased to 7.8 percent, up from 7.7 percent in 2001, and the percent of preterm infants (those born at less than 37 weeks of gestation) increased slightly over 2001, from 11.9 percent to 12 percent. The following other significant findings were included in the report: 26.1 percent of all children born in 2002 were delivered by cesarean section; more than one third of all births were to unmarried women; and access to prenatal care continued a slow and steady increase, with 83.8 percent of women receiving prenatal care beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Family Physicians Chosen for AMA Board, Policy-Making Bodies
Edward Langston, M.D., Lafayette, Ind., was recently elected to a seat on the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees. Dr. Langston, who was nominated by the AAFP, is a past chair of the AMA Specialty and Service Society and has been a member of the AMA Council on Medical Education since 1997. He served on the AAFP Board of Directors from 1991 to 1993 and was Board vice president in 1994. AAFP member J. Edward Hill, M.D., Tupelo, Miss., was re-elected to the AMA Board of Trustees. Dr. Hill has been a member of the AMA board since 1996 and is the immediate past chair. Family physician Ann Jobe, M.D., M.S.N., Macon, Ga., was named chair-elect of the AMA Section on Medical Schools, and David Barbe, M.D., a family physician in Mountain Grove, Mo., was chosen to serve on the AMA Council on Medical Service.