A highly respected expert on medical-decision making, Harold Sox, M.D., has been named editor of Annals of Internal Medicine. Sox, who will succeed the retiring Frank Davidoff, M.D., in July, was president of ACP-ASIM from 1998 to '99, and chaired the Second U.S. Preventive Services task force.
Genetic discoveries and public policy changes will make 21st-century medical practice a very different profession from what it has been in the last 50 years. Sox hopes that Annals can be a trusted source for putting these developments into perspective. "Any major journal is going to have to teach readers how to interpret clinical applications of our growing understanding of the human genome," he says. As for policy developments, "Physicians who are well-informed about the anatomy and the function of the health care system will be better agents of change, better able to explain things to patients, and better able to live with what they can't change."
While Sox's chief priority is to attract high-impact research, he's intrigued by the possibilities of electronic publishing — and will investigate its various applications. "I have always been interested in tools that allow you to calculate the probability of disease, given clinical findings. Most of these are easy to represent in print, but a print page doesn't do the calculations — it's up to the reader to find a way to use predictive instruments in practice. An electronic journal could embed the equations necessary to make calculations, given the input of clinical findings."