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Published on November 19th, 2009 | by Daniel Jolley

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In the beginning…

Fifty years ago, before many of today’s anaesthetists were even born, there were only a handful of information sources to consider. While our specialty was rapidly progressing, most published information was still restricted to a few ‘big picture’ domain areas covering the core of anaesthesia lore. Anaesthesia education was still very strongly grounded in an uneasy balance between apprenticeship and didactic learning from a small number of canonical texts.

This was a time when it was still conceivable for a dedicated clinician to learn all that there was to know about our craft.

Fast forward to today and ‘information overload’ has become the defining challenge for many professionals. A quick look on PubMed shows almost 140 journals covering anaesthesia, intensive care, resuscitation or pain medicine. Amazon returns almost 1,300 books and Google 1.3 million pages! This does not even quantify the immense collected knowledge held in the minds of experienced anaesthetists and intensivists all over the world.

How are we to maintain our knowledge and continue our education in the face of such overwhelming odds? How can we assist anaesthetists in lower-resourced countries to do the same?

Brad and I are working on the beginning of a solution to this growing problem. A way of sharing and learning anaesthesia, resuscitation, intensive care and pain knowledge accessible to every anaesthetist, anesthesiologist and intensivist. Regardless of whether you’re a resident just starting your training, a nurse anaesthetist or anaesthesia technician, or a consultant with forty years of experience, there will be something new you can learn and something you can contribute back to the global anaesthesia community.

What I’m talking about is gasexchange.com — a real-time, peer-reviewed, global anaesthesia community, asking and answering questions and organically sharing our collective knowledge.

Think of it as a modern take on the traditional academic journal, mixing aspects of wikipedia and community contribution along with a healthy dash of tea-room advice, discussion and debate.

We hope that over time gasexchange will become the first place that old and new anaesthetists alike visit to find answers to anaesthesia questions, to return their knowledge back to the global community, and to further their own professional development.

Over the coming weeks as Brad and I prepare the system for public launch we’ll describe some of the features unique to gasexchange that make these goals achievable.

[ Image “Walking in High Grass” © Ernst Vikne  http://www.flickr.com/photos/iboy/7370088164 ].

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About the Author

is an Australian consultant anaesthetist/anesthesiologist, with interests in anaesthesia education, obstetric and paediatric anaesthesia, and the practice of anaesthesia in remote and under-resourced environments. Daniel trained in Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne, and has worked in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Fiji and Mongolia. He is one of the founders of gasexchange.com along with Brad O’Connor.


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