Big data offers information, but as yet few answers

This issue also covers prescribing for opioid addiction, conference coverage from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and an urban primary care residency at Johns Hopkins University.


With the proliferation of smartwatches, smartphones, and fitness trackers, more data are available on health and wellness today than ever before. But no one, physicians and patients alike, is quite sure what to do with all of this information, and for many, it may raise more questions than it answers. Our story in this issue looks at the pros and cons of big data, what's happening in this area now, and what could, and what probably won't, happen in the not-too-distant future.

Buprenorphine is a proven and effective treatment for opioid addiction, but too few clinicians are prescribing it, as ACP Internist has covered in previous issues. Potential barriers include the additional training and licensing required to prescribe as well as reluctance among clinicians to manage a therapy, and a patient population, that's often seen as too complicated. Many who have taken the leap, however, report that it's much easier than it may at first seem. Staff writer Mollie Durkin takes a close look at buprenorphine prescribing for opioid addiction in primary care and talks to physicians around the country who are doing so in their practices, with encouraging results.

Our Conference Coverage section is from the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting in June. Patient-reported outcomes, which have a history of use in pharmaceutical research, are beginning to make inroads in patient care. In oncology, pain, fatigue, nausea, and depression are the variables most commonly measured, but this approach can be helpful in other fields, too. Our coverage of ASCO 2018 also includes a discussion of improving prognostication (keeping conversations open-ended and minimizing jargon can help), as well as a story that offers the latest on managing cardiac risk in patients who have been treated for cancer.

Elsewhere in the issue, a Success Story profiles two residency tracks at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore that aim to increase the number of future leaders in urban primary care. Our new feature, ACP Spotlight, offers readers a look at ACP's current top priorities and initiatives, as well as highlights of College offerings featured in our e-newsletter, ACP Internist Weekly.

Finally, I'm happy to announce that ACP Internist has won a 2018 Silver EXCEL Award for General Excellence in the Newspapers category from Association Media & Publishing, as well as a Gold Award for Best Cover Illustration for our September 2017 issue and a Bronze Award for Best Newsletter in the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors' (ASHPE) annual competition. We're honored by this recognition and look forward to continuing to provide great coverage to you, our readers. Please let us know how we're doing and what you'd like to read about.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Kearney-Strouse
Executive Editor