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The Journal completes its third volume with this issue. As we look back, it is clear that practitioners of our profession and our Society are facing tremendous challenges:
The JOP has addressed many of these issues, and has chronicled ASCO's efforts to help its members develop solutions.
There is almost certainly a market-based solution to the design of the 21st century workforce. Collaborative patient management with physician extenders(nurse practitioners and physician assistants) is underway and is an increasingly valuable part of our care. Development of clear career advancement paths, training and development enhancements, and enhanced job satisfaction for our nurses, clerical workers, and other medical assistants, is necessary to develop a motivated and skilled workforce to care for the increasing numbers of patients we will manage. These areas cannot be ignored, and we will maintain our focus on them. The Journal will continue to highlight best practices, the efforts of ASCO and its work to mold a solution to the projected shortfall, and contributions from our readers.
Demonstration of value, by developing easily applicable, efficient, and affordable quality measures for the services that we provide to our patients, will continue to be a focus of the JOP. The Quality Oncology Practice Initiative, its derivative projects, and our peer-reviewed Original Research, will all focus on demonstrating value to our primary and secondary customers.
We will continue to offer advice from our experts on adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), and will chronicle the efforts of the EHR Workgroup. Adoption of technology in direct patient management, including documentation of patient visits and chemotherapy and other drug ordering, is developing. The decision-support features (safety and chemotherapy dose range checks and integration with information that patients directly supply or that is entered into outside databases) are not well developed, and will be a subject that we will watch.
Interactions with government agencies, which regulate the drugs and devices we use, and which act as stewards of public dollars paid for our services, will continue to be a focus of the content of JOP.
Our clinical content, which summarizes the ASCO-developed practice guidelines, and which are updated periodically, will continue to expand. We have recently added a feature entitled “How I Treat …” authored by recognized experts, and which will address problems that a practicing oncologist might see once or twice each year. They are meant to be evidence and literature-based, and will not be exhaustive summaries of the medical literature.
In 5 years, when we look back at the JOP's first years, two things will be certain: We won't believe we're doing it so differently, and it was not an easy time. The underlying foundation of our professional activities—that sick and vulnerable people, whose lives are being disrupted by cancer will look to their oncologists for help in providing solutions to their problems—will not change. The JOP's job is to support the oncologist in providing these solutions.