ORLANDO, FL—Great fit—That, in a nutshell, sums up what both Douglas W. Blayney, MD, and ASCO officials have to say about Dr. Blayney's role as the first Editor of ASCO's new Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP), aimed at meeting the practical needs of its members.
That fit comes from a combination of the decades he spent in a large private practice wrangling with everything from Medicare reimbursement to streamlining care, along with the years he has been on various ASCO committees, plus his current role running what he calls “a large multilayered, multidisciplinary cancer center” at the University of Michigan.
His mission—“we want to show you how to organize your practice and offer the best care”—won't be easy, but he's up to the task, said Robert J. Mayer, MD, Vice Chair for Academic Affairs and Director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“Dr. Blayney is a wonderful choice, because he was a senior practitioner in a large group practice before moving to the University of Michigan. He has the hands-on experience to understand practitioners' problems in the real world as well as the perspective of understanding academic work,” said Dr. Mayer, a past president of ASCO and a member of OT's Editorial Board.
The introduction of the journal (www.jopasco.org) couldn't be better timed, he added.
“More and more issues with regulations, reimbursement, and conflict of interest have evolved over the past decade. With ASCO the primary, if the not the sole, support organization for practitioners, it's certainly timely to be able to produce a journal that represents a forum for opinion and advice.”
Bread & Butter Issues
Echoed Charles M. Balch, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of ASCO, “The journal will talk about the bread-and-butter issues that may not always be relevant in an academic setting but are critical in the community.”
“Dr. Blayney brings a certain prestige and legitimacy that will be appreciated by all members…particularly those in rural areas,” said Dr. Balch, who is also Professor of Surgery and Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.
David H. Johnson, MD, ASCO's 2004–2005 President, noted that “with three fourths of our members still domestic, it's important that we learn efficiency from one another, the best way to deliver care.”
“With lots of personal experience as a long-time practicing oncologist who is now in the academic field, Dr. Blayney brings a tremendous amount of know-how to the role. He knows the ropes and will do a terrific job.”
Of 12 ASCO activities or services included in a recent survey, practice management and reimbursement guidance was ranked fourth in importance, following the ASCO Annual Meeting, clinical trial programs, and other meetings and conferences, said Dr. Johnson, who is also Deputy Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
In addition, respondents highly ranked print and online publications as the preferred method for receiving information on a topic of interest, he said.
All these expectations aren't lost on Dr. Blayney. But in conversations for this article as well as during a breakfast with journalists at the Annual Meeting, it's evident he's eager to meet the challenge.
He has served on the ASCO Board of Directors as well as on the Clinical Practice, Cancer Education, and Online Committees. He was also on the FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee from 1999 to 2003.
And then there's his long-standing commitment to patient care while at Wilshire Oncology Medical Group in Pasadena, CA, which he joined in 1986 and led from 1992 through 2003.
Since then, as Medical Director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan, Dr. Blayney said that his “day job” involves overseeing clinical services at the more than two dozen cancer care clinics within the Center, while also treating both breast cancer and lymphoma patients.
“Whether you practice in a solo, group, university, or hospital-based setting, we'll feature the issues that are necessary to sustain an oncology practice in the 21st century,” he said of the journal. “We'll help you to deliver the best care, the most efficient care. And we hope this will be the place where pharmacoeconomic and cancer outcomes studies are published.”