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Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

AAFP Member Census: Five Minutes to Help the Academy Help Us

Data and analysis keep pouring in from the 2010 U.S. Census, and we have learned a lot. For example, we learned that the share of the Latino population grew nearly 4 percent.  The South and Southwest continue to grow their share of the population, as do suburban and exurban regions. 

Federal funds, Congressional seats and so much more have been affected by these results.

The AAFP is no different. It often uses member surveys to determine which programs and advocacy would most help us and help our patients. 

Every year, the AAFP conducts more than 300 research projects that ask subsets or sample sets of members their opinions on a wide range of issues. For example, the member satisfaction survey, which is sent to a random sample of members each year, guides many of the efforts of our Academy. (A summary of this survey is available on the AAFP website.)

There is one initiative, however, in which we are asking every member to participate. It's simple, online, has only 12 multiple-choice questions and takes less than five minutes to complete. It's the AAFP member census.

This short form asks us to provide information about things like our practice setting, whether we are practice owners or employees, what types of clinical services and procedures we provide, and whether or not we use electronic health records.

That's about it.

And the five minutes it takes to answer a dozen questions could make a difference in what you get out of your AAFP membership because the information is used by Academy staff to make sure that the products and services being offered are relevant and match our needs.

For example, information provided about clinical services and procedures helps our CME staff prioritize CME offerings and identify gaps in those offerings.

The goal is to have at least 60 percent of active members complete the census, and 52 percent have done so. However, the response from new physicians (only 32 percent!) is lagging and has left that segment of membership under-represented.

That's a problem because new physicians often have different needs and interests than our more experienced colleagues. For example, new physicians are more likely to be employed than non-new physicians and may have different needs for resources and services.

Whether you are a new physician or a 20-year veteran, I urge you to take five minutes and help our Academy help us.

Ravi Grivois-Shah, M.D., M.P.H., is the new physician member of the AAFP Board of Directors.

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The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.