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Am Fam Physician. 2004;69(4):785

AFP keeps in contact with readers throughout the year to monitor how well we are doing in meeting their needs. We conduct focus groups, we administer written mail surveys, and we ask readers to respond to surveys when we exhibit at meetings, to answer online surveys and send in feedback cards, and to write us and call us on the telephone with comments. Your input helps us formulate a picture of who you are and what you need. Here are some examples of the ways you have helped us improve:

  • You asked us to avoid requesting your social security number on our “Clinical Quiz” answer cards, and we stopped requiring this information.

  • You gave us a list of topic ideas for clinical updates, and we passed along your feedback to our medical editors, who are tailoring a solicitation plan to obtain the articles you want.

  • You asked for improvements in AFP online, and we've formed a working group that has developed a stepped approach to implementing enhancements in the journal's Web site. Since many of the enhancements depend on new technology, we've made plans for upgrading editorial and production software, and altering work processes to obtain the ideal output.

  • You have asked us to continue providing information that can be used at the point of care, and our medical editors have introduced several new features that will put you in touch with the facts when you need them. See the editorial that appeared in the previous issue (Ebell MH, Siwek J. AFP: Doing more to help you get the best evidence. Am Fam Physician 2004;69:483–6).

Most of the feedback cards we receive from readers express thanks and gratitude for the work we put into AFP. The most recent stacks of cards on my desk provide further testimony, with kudos arriving from as far away as Bangladesh. However, despite the praise, we remain self-critical, and we're looking to change the journal in ways that our readers may not even be able to articulate.

For this reason, AFP has on its planning calendar a series of changes that will unroll starting this spring, such as alterations in the look of the cover, the table of contents, and the design of articles and departments, with simplicity being a key goal. We also are planning to change the format of some of AFP's departments to ensure that you can locate the information you need at the point of care.

We hope you will watch for these upcoming changes and let us know how well we are anticipating your needs. Look for the feedback cards located in the “Clinical Quiz” section (first issue of a month) or use the online feedback form (

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