Last month the Associate Editors of Cancer.Net, ASCO’s patient education website, met for the annual editors’ meeting. This was my first meeting since I became Editor-In-Chief in June after serving as an Associate Editor. The meeting was terrific—the editors were enthusiastic and engaged, and their strong commitment to patient education was evident as we reviewed the site’s accomplishments during the past year and set the direction for 2014. We welcomed three new Associate Editors to the Editorial Board: Drs. Paul Chapman, Paul Sabbatini, and Anas Younes; here’s the full list of associate editors. And we heard some great news: site visits and page views continue to rise and will exceed 2012’s record traffic.
As I prepared for the meeting, I thought about a book I’d read, The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care, by Dr. Eric Topol. That led to comparisons between Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0. When Cancer.Net launched in 2002 there was some skepticism as to whether patient education was part of the core mission of ASCO; also, opportunities for interactivity were limited. Now the site is an integral part of ASCO’s vision for improving cancer care and prevention and parallels growth in the increased focus on patient-centered care. It now offers more opportunities for interactivity, collaboration with patients, and information sharing.
A big topic of discussion at the meeting was how to increase interactivity with the patient and survivor community. Two upcoming launches will help us achieve this goal—the Cancer.Net redesign and the new patient-focused blog. The redesign will give the site a fresh, clean look with streamlined navigation, and the blog will replace the site’s feature articles. Blog posts will be topical, with a conversational tone that we hope will be more engaging. The blog will offer practical guidance, and we’ll invite patients and advocates to author guest posts. The Cancer.Net Editorial Board and other ASCO members will also write for the blog. Stay tuned.
The editors had some great suggestions on how to broaden the reach of ASCO’s rebranded print patient education booklets. Members will soon receive a copy of an ASCO Answers Guide to Cancer (current titles include breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers, with more to follow). The new workbook format may encourage doctors and patients to use the guides together to help patients better understand their diagnosis.
Meeting breakout sessions focused on emerging technology and patient education, social media, the mobile app, international priorities, and survivorship. Once again the editors had great ideas; we look forward to implementing many of them.
I’m honored to be able to collaborate with so many hardworking Associate Editors, Specialty Editors, and panel members who make Cancer.Net such a valuable resource, along with the incredible ASCO staff. All ASCO members should be sure to share the site with their patients. I welcome your suggestions on how we can enhance the site to ensure we’re meeting the information needs of the patients and families we serve. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.