June 2004 Bulletin

Readers evaluate Orthopaedic Medical Legal Advisor

OMLA “highly regarded” by readership, survey reveals

By Carolyn Rogers

The results are in, and the Orthopaedic Medical Legal Advisor (OMLA) is a hit!

Although some AAOS members are still unaware of this valuable publication, the orthopaedic surgeons who read it give it high marks and ask the Academy to “keep it coming,” a recent survey shows

OMLA—which is distributed on a quarterly basis to approximately 20,000 orthopaedic surgeons nationwide—just completed its first year of publication. It focuses on identifying clinical risk situations that give rise to orthopaedic malpractice losses, and informing orthopaedic surgeons of specific strategies and risk management principles to help prevent the filing of claims and lawsuits.

“Serious discussion” generated

The first four issues have been well received by members, according to OMLA Editor-in-Chief Laura L. Forese, MD.

“The Orthopaedic Medical Legal Advisor has generated serious discussion of clinical risk situations and frank conversation about standards of care,” she says. “With every issue, the editorial board receives numerous phone calls, letters and e-mails responding to articles and the provocative questions posed.”

Oversight for the publication is with the AAOS Professional Liability Committee, members of which serve as the publication’s editorial advisory board. Editorial content is generated by members of the committee, as well as by several outside researchers and legal consultant Lawrence H. Brenner, JD.

In mid-February, the Professional Liability Committee and the Academy’s research and scientific affairs department marked OMLA’s first anniversary by conducting a readership survey.

The survey was distributed via fax and U.S. mail to a random sample of 4,000 AAOS fellows. A total of 558 completed surveys were returned by the cutoff date of March 12, 2004, for a response rate of 14.7 percent.

And the survey says…

According to the OMLA 2004 Reader Survey Final Report, member response to the publication is very positive overall, with the majority of respondents indicating that the newsletter’s quality, depth and variety of content—as well as the presentation of the information—are well done.

One reader’s comment reflected the feeling of many respondents. “This type of information is one of the most useful and applicable services from the AAOS,” he wrote. “Good job!”

Other key findings include:

“This survey highlights the need to increase member awareness of OMLA,” Dr. Forese says. “We hope the members will alert their office staff to watch for OMLA, so that they receive their copies promptly. We will be placing notices in AAOS Headline News to alert members when the next issue is on its way, and we are considering several other possibilities to help raise OMLA’s profile.”

About OMLA

So why should members want to read OMLA?

“OMLA educates Academy members on every facet of malpractice loss prevention and exposes them to the most current and sophisticated approaches to managing risk,” says David D. Teuscher, MD, chair of the Professional Liability Committee and managing editor of OMLA.

Articles address a wide array of professional liability issues, such as complications of surgery and diagnostic decision-making, as well as principles of the physician-patient relationship. Important legal principles that impact orthopaedic surgeons’ daily practices are also discussed, along with the most recent statistical data on malpractice losses. In addition, every issue contains the regular features “Risk Management Spotlight,” “Pitfalls and Pearls,” and “Issues and Answers.”

“Interactive communication”

“OMLA was designed from the beginning to be an interactive communications tool,” says Dr. Forese.

Each issue contains sample case histories and a corresponding “What do you think?” section that solicits readers’ input. “Readers submit their comments,” she explains, “and selected responses are printed in a subsequent issue. All responses are archived on OMLA’s Web site.”

OMLA is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Smith + Nephew.

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