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Am Fam Physician. 2003;68(7):1250

Although the year is starting to wind down and many of our editorial efforts are being directed at changes that will occur next year, we still have a few surprises in store for you this fall. In addition to the “Point-of-Care Guides” that we introduced in the September 1 issue, AFP will be launching two more new features.

Watch for a series of short drug updates called “STEPS.” These one- to two-page reviews will highlight the safety, tolerability, effectiveness, price, and simplicity of individual drugs that family physicians will want to be familiar with. These drug updates are being coordinated by Allen Shaughnessy, Pharm.D., one of AFP's contributing editors, who also coordinates the “Clinical Pharmacology” series.

This fall you can also expect to see occasional “Clinical Inquiries,” which are evidence-based answers to clinical questions that family physicians commonly encounter. These summaries, from the Family Practice Inquiries Network, promise to offer family physicians another source for practice-oriented information.

Changes we are working on for next year include the introduction of an updated system for rating the strength of recommendations in AFP articles, along with an updated “Information for Authors.”

Perhaps some of the most significant changes in store for AFP over the next few months will be invisible to readers. We're planning changes in technology that will enable us to make improvements and add features to AFP online, and ensure we're using the most up-to-date systems to produce the highest quality of AFP issues. We are developing processes that will take us farther along the continuum of a paperless work flow, with more of the handling, tracking and editing of manuscripts being done electronically. We are updating our computers and purchasing new editing and page layout software that will pave the way for us to enhance the Internet interface for our readers who enjoy AFP online.

Some AFP readers might have noticed that they were asked to fill out a survey online and indicate their interest in potential enhancements for the online journal. We apologize for the inconvenience of the survey, but AFP's goal is to tailor the Web site to the needs of its frequent readers. The data gathered during the testing period will give us valuable insight as we make plans for improving the site.

If you have comments about AFP's new features, AFP online, or other matters, please let us know. You can fill out the reader feedback card that appears in the first issue of the month and mail it to us. You can also write to us online; a reader feedback option has been added to the AFP home page ( Although we don't have time to reply to every comment, we read each one, share the input with our editors, and take action when needed.

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