An Internet Discussion Group on
Information Technology in Family Medicine

Updated: February 16th, 2003

Historical Background
E-Mail Discussion Group
Managing Your Subscription
Changing your address
Discussion Archive
Getting Help


Fam-Med is an e-mail discussion group (or Listserv list) focused on the use of information technology in Family Medicine.  Our members are from around the world and the majority are family physicians.  The forum has been active since November of 1990.  Anyone is welcome to join.

Subscribing to Fam-Med is now quite easy.  Point your web browser to the subscription page <http://fpen.org/mailman/listinfo/fam-med> and enter in your e-mail address.  You will be sent a confirmational message to verify your address is correct.  Once you reply to that message, you will begin to receive postings from the list.

You may browse through old postings that have been made to Fam-Med by going to http://fpen.org/pipermail/fam-med.  You do not have to be a subscriber in order to browse the archives.  You can manage your Fam-Med subscription at http://fpen.org/mailman/options/fam-med (You can ignore the "Error" warning in the upper left corner if you see it).

We have strict rules for posting messages on Fam-Med.  Advertising and the hype that goes with it is not allowed but brief mention of new and innovative products is welcomed.  If you are not familiar with common list etiquette or wish to know if your posting would be appropriate, please refer to the posting guidelines that can be found at http://fpen.org/fam-med/etiquette.html.  You may also send your questions to fam-med-owner@fpen.org

Subscription lists, registration lists and personal information has never been and will never be sold or shared. All information about you is considered private and will be kept that way.


Fam-Med was created in November of 1990 to provide a forum that would meet the needs of physicians who were trying to incorporate information technology in their practice.  Computer networks such as Arpanet, Bitnet, CompuServe and FidoNet were just starting to interconnect and e-mail was becoming a viable medium to bring physicians together regardless of location.  Fam-Med was created to facilitate the exchange of information and experience among family physicians and other primary health care providers interested in information technologies.  Many of the early subscribers to Fam-Med were pioneers in the field and had been working in isolation due to the constraints of time and distance.  Fam-Med became the gathering place for these physicians.  For the first time they could conveniently share ideas.

Today, the explosion of the Web and the dissemination of inexpensive communication technologies have served to make this method of communication more common and convenient.  Though the reality of busy schedules and geographic isolation still exist, asynchronous telecommunication has served to bridge this gap of time and space.  Fam-Med continues to be a gathering place for those who wish to share their experiences with information technologies in primary care and who want to learn from the experience of others.


Currently Fam-Med is an e-mail discussion group (or "listserv list") in which messages sent to the Fam-Med are immediately distributed to the subscribers.  The list averages less than 10-20 messages a week so e-mail clutter has been a rare complaint of our subscribers.  For those of you who subscribe to several discussion lists, receiving a list in digest form or better yet, investing in an e-mail package with filters can help you manage your mail.  You can design a filter to place all the messages that originate from a particular discussion list in their own folder.  I find filters very valuable.  For a documents created to help deal with e-mail clutter and instructions on the use of mail filters please see the advanced e-mail resources available at http://fpen.org/train/email/.

You may also receive the list in the form of a daily digest. If you wish to change your subscription to digest format, please see below.

List Etiquette:

Issues discussed on Fam-Med have included coding, computerization of the patient record, ambulatory care information systems, data security, teleconsulting, practice management systems, on-line information resources and voice entry systems.  The majority of our subscribers are primary care providers in practice from around the world.  Given the nature of our subscribers it is important that messages on the list respect the list’s objectives and other subscribers’ time.  We therefore require subscribers to adhere to common etiquette.

No advertising hype: We discourage advertising but allow brief announcements of new products or innovations that may be of interest to the readership.  Short announcements of conferences or job openings relevant to information technology in family practice are also welcomed.  URLs pointing to documents with more information should be included in these announcements when available.

Be brief: When you reply to a message and include the original message in your reply, please only copy enough of the original message necessary to remind the reader of the original idea.  This is especially important if you are replying to a message in a digest.

Text only: When you send messages to the list or post replies, please be sure you send your message in a text-only format. Sending mail in HTML or in the format of another mark-up language can make the message length considerably larger and almost impossible to read for those whose e-mail is not capable of interpreting the format.  It also makes the digest version of the list difficult to read as well.

Include a Subject: Be sure to include a meaningful subject. If you reply to a digest without modifying the subject, other's may see your subject as "Re: FAM-MED digest 215" which will be meaningless to the majority of readers.

Be nice: Members who stray from accepted list etiquette are assumed to have made an honest mistake and receive a gentle reminder.  Members who continue to ignore list etiquette, loose their posting privileges and are required to submit their messages for approval prior to its appearance on the list.  If someone wanders outside the limits of what you feel is acceptable list etiquette, assume that the moderator will send them a friendly reminder.

For a more detailed description of acceptable discussion list etiquette on Fam-Med, please see http://fpen.org/fam-med/etiquette.html.

Managing Your Subscription:

To sign up to receive Fam-Med, go to the subscription page <http://fpen.org/mailman/listinfo/fam-med> as described in the summary at the start of this message.  Once subscribed, you have many options for managing your subscription.  You may change your subscription options by going to http://fpen.org/mailman/options/fam-med (You can ignore the "Error" warning in the upper left corner if you see it).  You can:

Changing your address:

There are occasions when system administrators change subscribers’ return addresses.  When this occurs you may still receive mail but when you submit a message for distribution it is rejected since the list does not recognize you as a subscriber.  If this occurs, use your original address to log into the subscription options page http://fpen.org/mailman/options/fam-med and change your address  If you are having trouble, do not hesitate to contact the list manager, fam-med-owner@fpen.org, to delete your old address.

Discussion Archive:

Fam-Med has archived all messages sent to the list since it was started in November of 1990. These can be searched or browsed at http://fpen.org/pipermail/fam-med/.  Since we have recently moved the list to this location the archives will also be temporarily available in their original location at http://lists.fpen.org/guest/archives/FAM-MED/ until the end of March 2003.


For additional help in joining Fam-Med, or for further information about the Family Physicians’ Electronic Network, contact:

Paul Kleeberg, M.D.              O   o          paul@fpen.org Family Physicians' E-Net        -+---+-   Voice: 612-840-3744 5025 Mulcare Drive               |_o_|      Family Practice & Columbia Heights, MN 55421 USA  / \|/ \  Information Services