As seen on page 27 of this issue, HEALTHCARE DESIGN has taken an initial stab at compiling a list of the 25 most influential people in healthcare. Public voting was part of, but not all of the process, as was consultation with our own panel of experts from our Editorial Board and our publishing partners at The Center for Health Design (see the introduction to the feature for more detail).

It was our initial hope-and perhaps this was a bit naive on our part-that the voting would go beyond a mere popularity contest, or worse, a marketing exercise, and truly call attention to the real pioneers in the field. While I'm sure many of the voters made legitimate choices, there was ample evidence of attempted ballot-box stuffing to be sure. It was to be expected, of course, and we'll be tweaking the process in upcoming polls to make it more difficult to do so.

In any case, I stand behind the final list as published. Names may not be in the same order as I would personally list them, and there are certainly some folks who were left out that should rightfully have been included. But for a first attempt, I think it works. I expect once this issue sees print, I'll hear plenty about what the audience thinks (I'm battening down my inbox now for the expected deluge….)

As far as personal influences go, this issue marks another change for a man who has had a profound influence on my own career, former HCD Editor-in-Chief Richard L. Peck.

You might recall that around this time last year, Richard stepped down as EIC. As of October 9, Richard has made another transition, this time into retirement from full-time work. Never fear-Richard's name and new title (Contributing Editor) will continue to appear in these pages, and in fact does, twice in this very issue. I wouldn't dream of asking him to stop writing, just as I'm sure he couldn't stop if he tried. Please join me in raising a glass of holiday cheer (reader's choice!) in his honor.

And of course, happy holiday wishes to all of you-I look forward to a great 2010! HD

Todd Hutlock, Editor-in-Chief Healthcare Design 2009 December;9(12):6