Mar 10, 2020
By Debra Patt, MD, MPH, MBA, FASCO
Editor in Chief, JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics
You could palpate the inspiration at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting when Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO, ASCO’s then president, addressed the sea of bright cancer minds and discussed how we want to see technology advance health care in the same seamless, efficient, and effective way as we navigate through traffic with our digitally enabled navigation systems on our cell phones. But we are not yet there, and we need to get better faster.
Using technology to advance health care is also the mission of our journal, JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics (JCO CCI). We are focused on sharing information about informatics research in cancer that impacts clinical care delivery. With JCO CCI serving as a platform to distribute information, we hope to help inform organizations and clinicians how to navigate more efficiently and effectively in this space and improve clinical cancer care.
In addition to the web-based content we publish from researchers active in the field of clinical cancer informatics, we have fostered the development of content collections and facilitated collaborations to empower information sharing in clinical informatics to galvanize our mission.
Jack W. London, PhD, assembled a collection of invited articles on data-sharing networks to inform stakeholders. Russell C. Rockne, PhD, and Jacob G. Scott, MD, DPhil, collected contributions on mathematical oncology, illustrating with multiple examples how we can probe complex systems in cancer using mathematical models. Dr. Paul Martin Putora, MD, PhD, amassed a collection of research experts on clinical decision-making in cancer. Adam P. Dicker, MD, PhD, and Heather S.L. Jim, PhD, brought us a collection on digital health in cancer care spanning patient-reported outcomes, telehealth, wearables, clinical integration, and many other platforms.
We are also aligning stakeholders throughout clinical cancer informatics. Jeremy L. Warner, MD, MS, has fostered a collaboration with the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Informatics Technology for Cancer Research group and will be publishing a collection of research articles from that collaboration in the journal later this year. Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD, and Dr. London have fostered our collaboration with the Clinical Informatics for Cancer Centers group, CI4CC. This group provides a forum for NCI-designated and community cancer centers to share information so informatics progress can be expedited. A synopsis of this group’s work will be published in the journal this year. We are working in collaboration with the Association of Community Cancer Centers to characterize the use of informatics in the community cancer centers and heighten awareness of how to implement clinical informatics in the community setting.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” With all of our successes in cancer care, we will have to continue to work together to advance our common goals in clinical cancer informatics that are nested in ASCO’s mission of conquering cancer through research, education, and the highest quality patient care.
Dr. Patt is the executive vice president of public policy and academic affairs at Texas Oncology and a medical oncologist at Texas Oncology Cancer Center. She serves as editor in chief of JCO CCI and as a member of the ASCO Nominating Committee. Follow her on Twitter.