This issue completes volume 5 of Family Practice Management. In January, we'll be celebrating our fifth anniversary. When we started publication, the Clinton health care reform proposal was filling the news, and our first issue led off with an angry letter from a family physician to Hillary Rodham Clinton.1 Today, the government is tied up in so many knots that the idea of sweeping health care reform seems laughable. Back then, there were no Medicare guidelines for documenting evaluation and management services; today, HCFA is back at the drawing board for the third time.
Back then, insurers were eagerly off-loading risk onto the backs of solo physicians; today, they're watching sophisticated physician groups make money from capitation and they're having second thoughts about letting go of risk. Back then, managed care organizations hailed family physicians as gatekeepers; today they're letting members bypass the gates. Back then, insurers failed to appreciate what family physicians had to offer as physicians; today they still do. Well, at least there's something you can depend on in this world of change.
For the past five years, FPM has displayed at the top of its cover, “Helping family physicians adapt to changing times,” and the times have certainly been changing. It seems appropriate to us to take the occasion of our fifth anniversary to see where FPM might need to change. After all, we have to keep up with the times just as you do. We've scrutinized the journal and done quite a bit of research this year to determine how we can better serve you. As a consequence, you will see, starting with the January issue, a renewed Family Practice Management. You'll find new departments, greater variety of subject matter, shorter articles and a new look to top everything off.
You'll still recognize the FPM you know, and we'll still provide tools you can put to use in your practice, how-to advice aimed at helping you gain more control of your professional life and insight into how your colleagues in family practice are living and working. But you'll also see more advice on using computers — advice for the neophyte as well as the expert — more on how to balance the demands of practice and the rest of your life and a stronger emphasis on improving the quality of the patient care you deliver.
Many readers have told us that they find FPM's Speedbars invaluable as tools for getting the most out of FPM in the least possible time. With our anniversary issue, we'll be doing even more to increase the accessibility of our articles. We know you didn't go to medical school to deal with practice management issues, important though they are. Our aim in renewing Family Practice Management is to put into your hands the best possible tool for making that part of your professional life easier to deal with so you can get back to business — back to your real business: patient care. Look for the January issue; I hope you find the new FPM a considerable improvement on a resource you already value.