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Published 1/1/2011
G. Jake Jaquet

Clinically relevant topics top reader checklist

By G. Jake Jaquet

Survey gives AAOS Now high marks for content

Benefits such as free individual and group practice Web sites, member publications, and outreach campaigns add value to your AAOS membership. As a member publication, AAOS Now aims to provide readers with timely news and useful clinical, practice management, and regulatory information, while enhancing their understanding of AAOS policies and programs.

To ensure that AAOS Now remains a valuable AAOS member benefit, the Academy regularly surveys the readership. The most recent survey was conducted in 2010, focusing on reader satisfaction with the job AAOS Now does in delivering information. The 2010 readership survey was sent to a random sample of fellows and residents; the results have been tabulated and a summary of highlights follow.

On the whole, satisfaction with the content of AAOS Now remains high, with 81 percent of survey respondents saying they were somewhat or extremely satisfied. (This represents a 5 percent increase over the 2008 survey results.)

Three out of four fellows read or browse every issue, and fellows reported acting on something they read—discussing an article with a colleague or acting on information provided—more frequently than residents. When members do not read AAOS Now, it is primarily due to time constraints.

Most readers place a premium on articles that focus on clinically relevant topics; generally, level of practice experience dictates the level of detail desired. Most fellows (74 percent) said they were generally satisfied with the level of detail/depth of findings reported, but only a little over half (52 percent) of residents were similarly satisfied. Most respondents, whether fellow or resident, said they would like to see more content on:

  • the pros and cons of treatment options
  • the pros and cons of surgical techniques
  • clinical practice guidelines
  • medical liability and tort reform
  • clinical study reports

Online vs. print
Although the AAOS Now Web site receives more than 50,000 visits each month, a relatively small percentage (17 percent) of AAOS members say they access the online version of AAOS Now. In other words, nonmembers make up the majority of the Web site’s traffic.

A somewhat surprising finding of the survey (given the conventional wisdom that younger doctors spend more time on the Web than older doctors) was that the percentage of online use and frequency of online use of AAOS Now was similar for both residents and fellows.

Residents and fellows, however, use the online edition differently. Fellows were more likely to read the print version, and then search the online version for specific information. Residents were more likely to read the content of an issue online (or download articles from the online version to read later). Residents were also much more likely than fellows to access the Web site-only enhancements to articles that appeared in print, the classified ads, and the online version of the Annual Meeting Daily Edition of AAOS Now.

In general, AAOS Now recipients do not keep their printed copies. More than 80 percent throw the publication away after reading, although a quarter say they first tear out articles of interest for future reference, then discard the remainder. A small percentage pass their copies on to someone else. Only a little more than 10 percent said they kept their print issues.

Suggestions for improvement
Although some respondents expressed a desire for a publication closer to a “regular” (non-tabloid) size, or a desire for fewer “jumps” within articles, most are satisfied with the publication.

Although a focus on clinical topics clearly is vital to reader satisfaction, the desired level of detail differs between fellows and residents. Residents would like these articles explore the topic in more detail. Residents also say they would like more roundtable discussions and more content with a focus on practice management topics.

One suggestion was to add a “Residents Corner” to AAOS Now that might include summaries of topics of specific interest to residents and references to online resources. This might be a way to increase satisfaction and/or interaction with AAOS Now at a core/fundamental level in an orthopedist’s career.

Further, the survey indicated there may be value in considering feature articles that epitomize the issues and the voice of the “average” orthopaedist. As in past AAOS Now research studies, several respondents completing this survey mentioned wanting more representation of “members like me.”

The AAOS Now Editorial Board and staff will use the feedback from the survey to help guide decision-making for upcoming editions. Readers with specific thoughts regarding AAOS Now who did not take part in the survey are invited to express themselves by e-mailing aaoscomm@aaos.org

AAOS Now reader satisfaction (PDF)

G. Jake Jaquet is executive editor of AAOS Now. He can be reached at jaquet@aaos.org