Letters to the Editor  |   December 2008
Author Affiliations
  • Michael Fitzgerald, BA
    American Osteopathic Association, Chicago, Ill♦
    Director of Publications and Publisher
Article Information
Letters to the Editor   |   December 2008
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, December 2008, Vol. 108, 717-720. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, December 2008, Vol. 108, 717-720. doi:
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) is grateful to Mayo Clinic Proceedings for facilitating discussions between the AOA and The Nielsen Company regarding the way in which FOCUS and Media-Chek/APEX studies categorize osteopathic physicians. Those discussions confirmed that Mayo Clinic Proceedings' decision to exclude osteopathic physicians from its complimentary subscription list is strictly a business decision, as the journal's editor in chief, William L. Lanier, MD, explains. In fact, AOA Editor in Chief Gilbert E. D'Alonzo, Jr, DO, concurs with me that there is no reason to believe that this business decision is designed to discriminate against osteopathic physicians. 
By the same token, FOCUS and Media-Chek/APEX studies are not designed to discriminate against DOs. Separating DOs from MDs in these studies has long been a practice that has favored osteopathic medical publications, especially JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and The DO. Without having access to readership data specific to osteopathic physicians, pharmaceutical companies would have been far less likely to support our publications through advertisements and educational grants. 
The Nielsen Company's November 2007 decision offers a compromise that protects the osteopathic medical profession's need for data specific to osteopathic physicians while increasing the chances that osteopathic specialists and subspecialists will be included on the complimentary subscription lists of controlled-circulation medical journals, such as Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 
On the one hand, The Nielsen Company decided to continue to treat osteopathic primary care physicians as an audience separate from primary care MDs. As a result, osteopathic medical publications and their advertising clients will continue to have access to readership data on osteopathic family physicians, general practitioners, and general internists—the group that our advertisers have the greatest interest in reaching through our publications. 
On the other hand, The Nielsen Company decided to no longer group osteopathic specialists and subspecialists into one multispecialty audience. Readership data on these osteopathic physicians will now be included in data on MDs in the same specialties. 
Because this change will apply for the first time to the FOCUS and Media-Chek/APEX data that The Nielsen Company is releasing this month based on its summer 2008 surveys, allopathic medical journals targeted at non–primary care physicians will be faced with a new business decision: Do they increase circulation to include osteopathic specialists and sub specialists who are now being sampled with MDs in the same fields, or do they risk letting their readership percentages decline? 
As the publisher of several controlled-circulation publications, the AOA would anticipate that Mayo Clinic Proceedings would react to the change in FOCUS and Media-Chek/APEX data by taking the prudent steps of seriously considering including osteopathic internal medicine subspecialists in its circulation but continuing to apply its earlier business decision to osteopathic general internists. 
Because general internists outnumber medical subspecialists by nearly three to one in the osteopathic medical profession, the AOA appreciates Mayo Clinic Proceedings' offers to provide osteopathic physicians with electronic subscriptions for free and printed subscriptions at a reduced rate. The AOA will work with Mayo Clinic Proceedings to identify mutually acceptable ways of conveying these offers to osteopathic physicians.