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March 19, 2006
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New postings and analysis from Health Affairs, the leading journal of health policy.Health Affairs publishes new research each week online at For more information, contact Chris Fleming at 301-347-3944.

Mann Aims To Ease Translation Of Basic Research To Commercial Products

By establishing a dozen industrial product development institutes connected with research universities -- and perhaps one connected with the National Institutes of Health -- "serial entrepreneur" Alfred E. Mann is attempting to increase what he sees as the disturbingly low number of potentially valuable biomedical innovations that make it through the "Valley of Death," from basic research to start-up product.

"Academics and even the technology-transfer people at most universities do not understand how to develop a basic technology into a product," Mann says in a 14 March Health Affairs Web Exclusive interview, the second in a series of interviews with scientific innovators funded by the nonprofit Institute for Health Technology Studies (InHealth).

Variations in End-of-Life Care Sow Doubt About Need For More Physicians

In the March/April Health Affairs, Dartmouth's David Goodman and colleagues question the belief that the United States faces an impending physician shortage. As evidence, Goodman and colleagues offer a threefold variation in the amount of physician care given to patients at different academic medical centers in the last six months of life. They write that this variation is related to regional differences in physician supply, rather than any effects on the well-being of the patient. They assert that we should use our resources on replicating the efficient care offered by interdisciplinary practices such as the Mayo Clinic, rather than training more physicians who will only generate increased costs for the health system.

Print editions of Health Affairs may be ordered for $35 each from Health Affairs' Customer Service at 301-347-3900 or online at

How Health Insurance Restrictions Inhibit Trade in Health Care

Also in the March/April Health Affairs, the World Bank's Aaditya Mattoo argues that the failure of U.S. health insurance policies to cover care received abroad is preventing the substantial savings that could come with freer trade in health care. Mattoo and Randeep Rathindran of HDR/HLB Decision Economics say that savings could amount to $1.4 billion annually if only one in ten U.S. patients chose to receive treatment abroad for one of fifteen relatively straightforward procedures, such as knee surgeries, hysterectomies, and cataract extractions.


Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is the leading journal of health policy. The peer-reviewed journal appears bimonthly in print with additional online-only papers published weekly as Health Affairs Web Exclusives at The full text of each Health Affairs Web Exclusive is available free of charge to all Web site visitors for a two-week period following posting, after which it switches to pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. The abstracts of all articles are free in perpetuity. Web Exclusives are supported in part by a grant from the Commonwealth Fund.


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Health Affairs gratefully acknowledges the support of Health Care Update News Service in the dissemination of this e-alert.