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At the end of 2008, in its 12th year of publication, The Permanente Journal (TPJ) conducted its fifth reader survey and found continued high satisfaction. Of the 2910 re-spondents—70% physicians, 15% clinicians, 11% nurses, 4% academics, researchers, leaders, managers—33% rated TPJ “excellent,” 49% “good,” 12% “average,” 4% “fair,” and 2% “poor.” Overall satisfaction was 94% (including “average” because respondents are comparing to other national medical journals, many with more focused specialty content). The response rate from each Kaiser Permanente (KP) Region was equivalent with 58% specialists and 42% primary care.
In response to the question “In the last two years, do you feel the quality of the journal has improved, stayed the same or declined?,” 60% of those who responded said TPJ had “improved” or “significantly improved.” Another 22% who marked “stayed the same” rated the journal “excellent.”
Ninety percent of 2696 respondents accessed TPJ in print, preferring to read the journal off-line or at home, though a common request was to receive an electronic Table of Contents (eTOC) by e-mail with links to articles on the Web site. Also, 33% of respondents were “extremely likely” or “very likely” to use video-based education Web services.
Currently TPJ has a quarterly print circulation of 25,000 (95% KP); sends an article-linked eTOC to 2700 readers on request (90% non-KP); and in 2008, TPJ's Web site was accessed by 506,000 unique visitors from 164 countries.
We received comments from 1421 readers, which were more illuminating than the statistics cited above (Table 1). Included are “Fair” and “Poor” comments to give a balanced representation of responses.
Reader requests, and responding to those requests, is of utmost importance to the journal editors and staff. Table 2 illustrates a representative verbatim sampling of those requests.
In 2009, on the basis of these reader survey responses and in our ongoing effort to improve the quality of original articles, review articles, case studies, clinical medicine, and commentaries, TPJ is actively working to improve our electronic capability and to include quality improvement articles.
In support of readers’ interest in articles that help them improve their clinical practice and in alignment with KP's partnership with the international Institute for Healthcare Improvement, this Fall issue features four quality-improvement studies selected by TPJ for Service Quality Awards at last December's 20th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care. A fifth article presents a multicase quality improvement study by The Permanente Medical Group focused on service-score segmentation to enhance satisfaction with patient-physician visits.
The editors’ purpose is to create excellent medical content bringing new knowledge and practice improvement to readers of TPJ. One result this year has been acceptance by the National Library of Medicine, after scientific evaluation, for indexing in PubMed Central—the open-access, full-text, electronic archive of articles in biomedical and life science journals. In addition, TPJ s improved electronic capability enhances the communication of Permanente Medicine through the Web to a world-wide readership.