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The survey is faster and easier to complete than previous versions, and your response is more important than ever to your colleagues.

Fam Pract Manag. 2009;16(3):12-14

Dr. Adler is a family physician in full-time clinical practice in Tucson, Ariz., and a member of the FPM Board of Editors. He has a Master of Medical Management degree from Tulane University and a Certificate in Healthcare Information Technology from the University of Connecticut. Robert Edsall is editor-in-chief of Family Practice Management. Author disclosure: Dr. Adler disclosed that he owns stock in two companies that produce EHR systems – Allscripts and NextGen.

Does your electronic health record system (EHR) drive you to distraction? Or is it the best thing since the electric bread slicer? However you feel about it, you could help thousands of your colleagues by completing FPM's easy-to-take survey. Your input is particularly important now, when the promise of government stimulus funding for health information technology (HIT) is leading more and more physicians to consider taking the plunge. You can help them avoid mistakes – perhaps the same ones you made along the way. We will publish product-specific results in an upcoming issue of FPM.

About the survey

The user-satisfaction survey is open to AAFP members who use commercial EHRs. We encourage all such members to respond; the more who respond, the more EHR systems we'll be able to report on and the more complete the report will be.

But I took the survey last time. Our last satisfaction survey was fielded two years ago, and things change quickly in HIT. Your system has probably been upgraded and (who knows?) your opinion may have been downgraded in the past two years. Things are different now. We need to hear from you.

But my partner is taking the survey. If you and your partner are like most family physicians, you don't agree on everything. Your opinion counts. We need to hear from you – and the rest of your partners too. If there are six of you, you probably have six different opinions of the system you use. Please spread the word.

But I'm not computer savvy. We need to hear from all segments of the membership, not just the enthusiasts. We need to hear from you.

But I just hate our EHR. Then don't you think it's important to tell colleagues who might be on the point of buying it? We really need to hear from you.

The survey instrument is a modification and simplification of the one used two years ago.1 That form, in turn, was simplified from the one used in 2005.2 We think we have streamlined the survey considerably without impairing the usefulness of the results.

What's in it for you

Even though the survey takes only five minutes or so to complete, we know your time is in short supply. We aim to make it a productive five minutes.

First, of course, your response will help many of your fellow family physicians. It will also provide feedback to vendors that spurs improvements in EHR technology – perhaps even in the EHR you use.

But we can offer some other incentives as well: One randomly selected respondent will receive an Apple iPod Touch, and 10 others will receive certificates good for a one-year subscription to FPM in print.

Taking the survey

To make responding as convenient as possible, we are publishing the survey instrument both in the print issue of FPM and online through the FPM Web site. The easiest way to submit a survey is to go online. Just select your answer choices, click “Submit,” and you're done. Alternatively, you can

, complete it by hand, and fax the results to us at 913-906-6010. Be sure to respond by July 31, 2009. Your colleagues will thank you.

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Copyright © 2009 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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