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Am Fam Physician. 2006;74(11):1817

Medical journals need to continually reevaluate their policies, procedures, content, and style to remain a current and valid source of information. I’d like to draw your attention to a few changes we have made at AFP recently.

Practice Guidelines Improvements

Beginning in this issue, the AFP Practice Guidelines department has been improved to provide you with information in a more easily read format (see page 1967). A shaded box on the first page of each practice guideline provides background information. This will allow you to quickly find the published source of the guideline, the Web site where you can obtain the complete guideline, information on the literature search, and whether there was an evidence rating system used in creating the guideline. The last two elements give some indication of the strength of the evidence behind the guideline.

In the editorial on page 1840 of this issue, Mark Ebell, M.D., M.S., AFP deputy editor, and Jay Siwek, M.D., editor of AFP, explain how high-quality practice guidelines have evolved in an attempt to improve health care and reduce errors and cost. They also describe the characteristics of a well-designed guideline. AFP has explicit criteria regarding the selection of guidelines to summarize in our publication. We use authoritative sources, including major medical organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and medical specialty societies. We preferentially select guidelines that are

  • evidence-based, rather than consensus-based;

  • patient-oriented rather than disease-oriented; and

  • relevant to primary care physicians, rather than just to subspecialists.

Web Site Navigation Enhancements

Navigating the AFP Web site ( just got a little easier. When you go to the Web page of any article published since January 1, 2006, you will see a new American Family Physician banner. The lower portion of the banner contains new navigation links that allow you to move from that page and go directly to:

  • the AFP home page,

  • the latest issue published,

  • past issues,

  • the clinical quiz,

  • the page with contact information, and

  • the search page.

We also added a link to the table of contents of the issue being viewed. This new link appears on the left side, just below the AFP banner; just one click takes you back to the table of contents for that issue.

We hope these new navigation tools help you find information on the AFP Web site more quickly and easily. As always, if you have any suggestions for future enhancements, please let us know by sending an e-mail to

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Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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