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“Nothing endures but change.” —Heraclitus
Change is nothing new to oncologists, regardless of their practice setting, size, location, and specialization. The many changes in the US national health care infrastructure that affect the practice of oncology led to the inauguration of Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) in 2005. The challenges presented by these changes continue today as oncologists face reduced reimbursements for pharmaceuticals; overall reimbursement threats and cost containment pressures; pay-for-performance and quality-of-care initiatives; staffing shortages; increasing patient volume as a result of an aging population and more cancer survivors; pressure to implement electronic health records; and the growing need to partner with other practices, other specialties, hospitals, and payors. Moreover, the rapid pace of introducing new therapies and molecular tests requires that oncologists adapt their practices to ensure that they continue to provide state-of-the-art options to their patients.
Under the editorship of Douglas W. Blayney, MD, JOP has become a resource for practicing oncologists on a range of matters including quality of care, career satisfaction, clinical trial participation, guideline implementation into practice, and federal government regulations. As Dr Blayney steps down as Editor-in-Chief to serve as president-elect of ASCO, we wish to congratulate him on taking an idea—“a journal for practicing oncologists”—and transforming it into the reality of JOP. We thank him for his dedication in initiating and developing JOP into the successful journal it is today.
It is a great pleasure now to introduce and welcome John V. Cox, DO, MBA, FACP, as JOP's new Editor-in-Chief. Dr Cox, who has contributed to JOP as both an author and editorial board member, will assume editorial responsibility for JOP beginning with the January 2009 issue.
Dr Cox has served on ASCO's Clinical Practice Committee since 2001 and the Steering Subcommittee since 2005, and was chair of the Clinical Practice Committee from 2005 to 2006. He is also a member of ASCO's Cancer Education Committee and has participated in the development of educational sessions addressing practice management and information technology at ASCO's Annual Meeting and disease-specific meetings. He chairs ASCO's Electronic Health Records Workgroup as well.
A member of JOP's editorial board since its inception in 2005, Dr Cox has authored a series of articles in the Journal addressing issues faced by oncology practices across the United States and beyond, including current and future oncology workforce needs, tools and strategies for providing quality cancer care to patients, and financial and reimbursement issues.
Dr Cox, who specializes in hematology and medical oncology, is currently on the staffs of Methodist Hospitals of Dallas and Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at North Texas State University and his internal medicine training at Methodist Hospital in Dallas, and completed his fellowship in hematology and oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
There is no doubt that oncology practice will continue to change, and we look forward to the important role that JOP will play in providing practical and timely information to ASCO members. I expect JOP will be a forum to introduce many of ASCO's major initiatives in the coming year. Already, the Journal has begun publication of a series of articles on how to develop and expand clinical trial participation in the practice environment. Later this year and next, ASCO will begin implementation of the recommendations of the Workforce Advisory Group, the Health Disparities Advisory Group, and the Cost of Care Task Force. These plans will continue to be reported in JOP, as well as updates to the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative and its recently approved certification program. Under Dr Cox's able leadership, and with the assistance of a superb editorial board, we hope to position JOP as a leading source of information that oncology practices can use to enhance cancer care and improve outcomes for patients.