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It's a Wonderful World!

Monday, November 29, 1999

During the past year, we have been inundated by stories about the massive changes that are taking place in our lives as a result of the application of electronic technology. Even those infatuated by the absorbing nature of this new world must have reservations about the extent of the unimaginable permeation of our lives by its power. Regardless of one's reservations, there is no going back. This revolution is irresistible, and proceeding at logarithmic speed. Unless we recognize and develop the potential for it to add value to our lives and focus on these features, we may find ourselves thrashing about in a swamp created by a flood of information coming out of the pipeline (broadband of course) of the computer and its conduit -- the Internet.

An objective of CTSNet is to help surgeons circumvent this dilemma. CTSNet remains a calm oasis where the cardiothoracic surgeon can go to avoid wandering aimlessly around the Internet, searching soulfully for pertinent information about the specialty. CTSNet is a one-stop shop where information and news, communication and entertainment (if the wonderful repartee witnessed in the Controversies section can be called entertaining, I certainly found it so) can be obtained in a logical, consistent and informative format. The reason that this is so is a tribute to the intellect and the amazing talent of Peter Greene, MD , who is the right person in the right place at the right time. Not only are we blessed to have as our CTSNet Executive Editor a cardiothoracic surgeon who possesses intimate knowledge of Internet technology, but who also recognizes the need to display vast amounts of information in a logical and useful way. He does this while carrying a full operative load. I am in awe, and I can tell you there are not a whole lot of folks I find awesome at my advanced stage of life.

In February of 2000, CTSNet will be doubly or triply blessed. Tom Ferguson, MD will move from the print version of information distribution, leaving the post of Editor of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery , which he has filled with distinction for the past 15 years, to become Senior Editor of CTSNet. He will be joined by and his editorial alter ego, Carol Blasberg. Anyone familiar with The Annals will recognize immediately the coup of having Carol Blasberg join in the effort. Moreover, L. Henry Edmunds, MD, who is taking over the job as Editor of The Annals, is as enthusiastic and knowledgeable as Tom has been in his support for electronic publication as a supplement to the print version. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery has a new Editor designate, Andrew Wechsler, MD, who plans to carry on the efforts of John Waldhausen, MD establishing the presence of the JTCS on CTSNet. In January 2000, The European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery will appear in full text on CTSNet, the result of intense, but pleasant and favorable negotiation by the Editor, Marko Turina, MD and the leadership of the European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, with their publisher Elsevier Science. The disturbances that the electronic media creates for the traditional print publishing have only begun to be appreciated by companies like Elsevier and Mosby, yet they have been very supportive as we try to harness the best of both worlds.

CTSNet is working with HighWire Press, a company dedicated to electronic communication, to put the print journals in the CTSNet family of journals in electronic form. HighWire Press is a department of Stanford University, and is a very creative, top rank example of the new world of electronic production. The readers of the journals on CTSNet are in for some very pleasant surprises as HighWire Press initiates many new features. The year 2000 will prove to be a watershed for CTSNet and Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Don't despair my colleagues, everything is gonna get better next year; managed care will go away, driven to destruction by a flood of litigation. On second thought, that litigation may have to wait while the trial lawyers digest the billions obtained from the tobacco companies and silicon device manufacurers; the suits against gun manufacturers may also be a distraction. Hopefully, we will see an increase in the number of trial lawyers soon, as market forces swing into action. It's a wonderful world!

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