Academy fellows will see major changes in the next issue of the Bulletin. Starting in February 1998, the Bulletin will have a new focus, new design and it will be published more frequently.
The Bulletin will be a news magazine, presenting more information on what fellows need to know to meet the challenges in the evolving health care delivery system. New organization of content and display of information will enhance the readability of the magazine. Fellows will receive the Bulletin bi-monthly instead of quarterly. The new publication cycle - February, April, June, August, October and December - will alternate with the publication cycle of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons which will not be changed.
The changes are the result of almost 1 ½ years of study, analysis and planning, set in motion by a Board of Directors workshop in March 1996. Communications consultants and Academy directors reviewed and appraised the Academy's communications vehicles: the Bulletin, AAOS Report and the Washington Report, which was later revised and renamed the Report from Washington D.C. and the States.
In May 1996, the Board authorized a staff task force to conduct research on the Academy's communications vehicles and to prepare a comprehensive communications plan. Directors and members of seven Academy departments, representing a cross section of communications expertise, formed the task force chaired by Mark W. Wieting, vice president, educational programs. William W. Tipton Jr., MD, executive vice president; and Lawrence Rosenthal, PhD, deputy executive vice president also participated.
The task force developed a survey mailed to 3,000 fellows and 500 candidate members to determine the effectiveness of the Bulletin, AAOS Report, Report from Washington, D.C. and the States and Academy News, the newspaper published at the Annual Meeting. Fellows and candidate members were asked the importance of regularly receiving current information on subjects ranging from new educational materials to Academy member news. They also were asked what publications they would first seek for information on these topics, including the American Medical News, Medical Economics and Orthopedics Today.
A series of focus groups of fellows at the 1996 and 1997 Annual Meetings also provided insightful information on the content needed by the fellows and the format. The staff task force analyzed the research and, meeting on a weekly basis, reviewed the Academy's communications vehicles and developed a plan that was approved by the Board in May 1997.
The survey results showed that the Bulletin is the most well-read Academy publication, however, fellows said they needed more information to help them compete and survive in their practice. The Bulletin will provide more information on practice management issues, computers, legal matters, continuing medical education opportunities and other relevant topics. State and federal legislation and regulation also will be covered, as well as important Academy activities.
The Bulletin will maximize the limited time that fellows have for reading by presenting much of the information in short, tightly written items. Fellows also asked for comprehensive coverage of major topics. When appropriate, additional information related to Bulletin articles will be displayed on the Academy's home page.
By publishing frequent short survey questionnaires, the Bulletin will be an interactive publication that allows fellows to voice their opinions on topics, ranging from legislative and regulatory issues to how other fellows are meeting challenges in their market areas. The surveys will be used to inform the fellowship and to continually monitor what the fellows want to read in the Bulletin.
S. Terry Canale, MD, Secretary of the Board of Directors, has been named Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin.