Why our cover is a sign of the times

If anything could be considered a "sign of the times," this month`s cover would top the list. Dr. Patrick Cassidy is the "model," and, while a laptop computer is not an uncommon sight in dentistry, the Web page visible on the screen is unique. Pat is the founder of net32, a North Carolina company that is a driving force behind e-commerce in our profession.

Joe Blaes, DDS,

Editor

e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com

If anything could be considered a "sign of the times," this month`s cover would top the list. Dr. Patrick Cassidy is the "model," and, while a laptop computer is not an uncommon sight in dentistry, the Web page visible on the screen is unique. Pat is the founder of net32, a North Carolina company that is a driving force behind e-commerce in our profession.

I am not much of a computer nerd and will readily admit that I use my computer mostly for its word processing functions. So Pat`s initiative in creating net32, in addition to operating his North Carolina practice, has left me humble with respect for what the "nerds" among us have accomplished.

The Internet is a fascinating place that can open a whole new world for us. I have said in the past that I would never order anything online, but I am now an enthusiastic shopper. So I was very excited when I learned that Dental Economics formed a partnership with net32.

Pat and the net32 staff have developed a "shopping service" that allows dental professionals to compare available products from more than 50 different dental supply sources. The interaction between Dental Economics and the Internet offers many intriguing possibilities. For example, the dental professional may read about a product in Dental Economics, then click onto a net32 message board to inquire about the experiences of colleagues with that product, and finally click to the products section of net32 to comparison shop from these 50-plus sources for dental products.

And, of course, you can catch up with dental news by reading the online version of Dental Economics. How do you get there? Type in net32.com or dentaleco nomics.com.

You will find it to be a very user friendly and esthetically pleasing site. Comparison-based shopping and the current issue of Dental Economics are not the only two features that you will find here. You will be able to search for articles by title, author, or just by using a word that you think describes it. This will put information that is valuable to you at your fingertips when you need it.

I usually have to edit the articles I receive for the magazine. Most of the time, I am editing the length of the article. Sometimes, valuable information ends up on the cutting room floor. Now we can note at the end of the article that more information is on the Web and you can go to the publications section to see it. I can also post articles to the Web that I do not have room for in the printed magazine.

You will also find opportunities to view technique guides for new materials, opportunities to see the latest in dental office design, and opportunities to get more information on the latest Pearls.

The proliferation of products in the dental industry is a very real problem. What is the best product to use for curing composites? Dental Economics and net32 are in the process of putting together a product review panel that will report their findings on a timely basis.

From time to time you will be able to participate in "Expert Events," where some of the practice management gurus will be available to answer your questions. Many of the people who regularly write for Dental Economics will be participating in these events. I get excited just thinking about the possibilities!

Finally, a community section on the site offers a calendar of events, classified advertising, and moderated message boards. In these message boards, you can post a question - on products, procedures, personnel, or any professional topic - and get replies from colleagues around the country. You can also read awhat others have written and post your own reply.

I am going to borrow Dr. Larry Emmott`s tag line to close this editorial: "The future is coming and it will be amazing." I would add that the future has arrived, as our cover suggests.

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