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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.

One In Ten Physicians Using Electronic Health Records With Key Capabilities

The best available evidence suggests that about a quarter of physicians were using an electronic health record as of 2005, but fewer than one in ten physicians were using EHRs with functionalities such as electronic prescribing, researchers say in an article published today on the Health Affairs Web site. The article by Harvard's Ashish Jha and coauthors offers this and other key findings from the first report of the Health Information Technology Adoption Initiative, a partnership between the federal government and several academic research institutions. The initiative's mission is to track the adoption of EHRs by both physicians and hospitals, and the research by Jha's team is meant to create a "reliable baseline" against which progress can be measured.

Medicare And Hospitals Both Lose Money On Adverse Events

Medicare pays hospitals an extra $300 million-plus a year for just five types of adverse events occurring during hospitalization, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Chanliu Zhan and coauthors report in the Sep/Oct Health Affairs. This amounts to 0.27 percent of annual Medicare hospital spending, but it represents less than a third of the additional costs incurred by hospitals in treating these adverse events. Thus, there are good business cases for both Medicare and hospitals to improve patient safety, the authors say. They agree with the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission that Medicare should pay only for comorbid conditions that were present at admission, not for adverse events that occur during hospitalization.

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

Health Affairs Launches Blog

We are pleased to announce that after 25 years as a bimonthly print journal and six years in online publishing, Health Affairs is entering the blogosphere as a new means of engaging readers in the health policy debate. The blog launched on October 5 with a post by the University of California at Berkeley's James Robinson focusing on "Redefining Health Care," a new book on health care reform by Michael Porter and Elizabeth Olmstead Teisberg. In the coming week, other health policy experts will offer posts on the book, and the blog will tackle biotech pricing and many other subjects. We encourage everyone to join the discussion - we ask only that you register and use your real name. Readers who wish to be informed about new postings may sign up for e-mail alerts or an RSS feed.


Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is the leading journal of health policy. The nonpartisan, 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. The Sep/Oct 2006 issue was supported principally by the Blue Shield of California Foundation with additional support from Amgen and Genentech. 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.