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Why Health Affairs Is Launching A Blog

October 5th, 2006

I am pleased to announce that after twenty-five years as a bimonthly print journal and six years in online publishing, Health Affairs has entered the blogosphere as a new means of engaging readers in the health policy debate. The journal is all about an ongoing dialogue on health policy issues of concern to a diverse audience of interested readers.

This blog should enable the journal to move beyond the 4,000-word research paper into a new realm: thoughtful, focused comments in the 500-to-1,000-word range on topics that scan the health policy horizon. These are the kinds of comments one would share in a conversation, at a meeting, in a strategy session, in a letter to the editor. But now a much wider audience can join the conversation in an interactive online format.

How does the blog differ from the journal?

Unlike Health Affairs’ current print and online content, the blog will not be peer-reviewed, and we are cognizant of the concerns some might have about whether this move would detract from the work of a scholarly journal. However, to our way of thinking, this blog provides a timely opportunity to extend the kind of debates journals have long presented in Letters to the Editor, but in a new online medium and to a more far-reaching community.

Moreover, we have been impressed with the many thoughtful blogs that have appeared in recent years, and we do not believe that the more-free-wheeling discussion a blog offers must come at the expense of accountability and civility. Anyone who posts or comments on the Health Affairs blog will be required to register and agree to the terms of use, including the use of one’s real name as a user name, not pseudonymns. All posts and comments will be vetted by the journal’s editors before they appear on the blog, and we will filter comments for appropriateness and language.

We are also excited about the blog as a new medium for sharing some of the information that flows through our editorial office. With our September/October 2006 issue, we are no longer publishing a print roundup of new publications and reports in the journal’s UpDate section. Instead, we will seek to exploit the connectivity of the blog to point readers to new information in a more timely way.

What will the blog include?

At the outset, Health Affairs plans to experiment with the blog. Some posts will be clustered around a hot topic. Some will be one-time postings on news items of current interest. Linking and interactivity will be key. Both staff editors and outside experts will be contributing original items to the blog. The staff-written posts will be context-setting rather than opinion-based and will point to timely information both within the journal and from other sources. This is an extension of our introductory “Prologues” that we have published in the journal since 1981.

With the posts from health policy experts, our goal is to offer a range of views, not to push a particular agenda. Just as nonpartisanship is the hallmark of the journal, so it will be with the blog. While individual commentators may present strong viewpoints and all readers are welcome to comment, we ask that everyone keep this cordial and productive.

New content will be posted on the blog at least weekly. We encourage you to sign up for e-mail alerts or an RSS feed to be alerted when new content is posted at For more details about Health Affairs’ blog, see our page About the Blog. Come join us in this new venture, and let us know how we are doing.

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8 Responses to “Why Health Affairs Is Launching A Blog”

  1. Nancy Sharp Says:

    Congratulations on the launch of this forum — adding an interactive vehicle for healthy debate among health professionals who care deeply about public policy. We NEED this venue ! As a supporter of the 140,000 nurse practitioners in the health care system, I will encourage some (not all !) of them to join the discussions here. Thank you for your visionary leadership !

  2. John Haughton Says:

    Congratulations on creating an interactive forum. Healthcare improvement moves quickly, now so to can information and discussion!

  3. fredericjones Says:

    It is my hope that we can have an exchange on the provision of medical services to the indigent populations of the US. We have a large and much underutilized population of “retired” health professionals that could make a major contributuion to maintaining health of our uninsured and indigent populations. How can we organize on more than a local basis? Moreover, how can we overcome barriers such as state medical and nursing licensing boards, liability and pharmaceutical and diagnostic testing support.

  4. Philippa Kennealy Says:

    Your blog will be a great addition to the ever-expanding healthcare blogosphere. I look forward to a lively debate!

  5. sibaya Says:

    Congratulations and good luck with the new medical blog!

  6. Colleen Fuller Says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to the same high-quality information about the international picture of health that we enjoy in the journal.

    I would also second the comments of Neil Gardner. Reach Community Health Centre, a multi-disciplinary, primary care health clinic in Vancouver, BC , conducted a survey of the community conducted several years ago. The clinic also offers a dental clinic but the services are not covered by the public health insurance system. Reach found that the number one health concern of residents was dental care and their inability to access this service because of financial barriers. Along the same lines, Harper published an excellent piece earlier this year (don’t have reference) about the downward sprial of health problems, beginning with poor dental health.

  7. Neil Gardner Says:

    Let us please remember that an entire healthy body is needed to be really healthy, so let us not just dwell here on traditional physician services! Besides one on one medical encounters, preventive public health processes and infrastructure need addressing as well. Also, dental caries is the most prevalent disease in children in America, and there are large disparities in access to care and disease prevalence due to social and economic differences especially in this oral health area. As we strive for a better healthcare system, let us remember again that an entire healthy body is needed to be really healthy and every person should have the right to timely access the entire healthcare system in terms of quality care and accurate info, as well as the right not to be held hostage or bankrupted by the experience!

  8. chenant Says:

    welcome to the healthcare blogosphere! We definitely look forward to your insights and conversations.

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