The Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a number of new initiatives on June 3 during the Health Datapolooza IV conference in Washington:

* Following release on May 8 of average prices for 100 common hospital inpatient stays, Medicare now has issued price data for 30 types of hospital outpatient procedures.

* Also newly released are county-level data sets showing the prevalence of 15 common chronic conditions among Medicare beneficiaries, and spending for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions. The county information also is available on a state-level dashboard for users of any skill level.

* Coming soon is data from health information technology regional extension centers showing market shares for electronic health records used by 146,000 physicians who have received REC services. The data breaks down by state, specialty and stage of meaningful use attestation.

* A new challenge to software developers seeks to enable consumers to better use the personal medical data they can download using Blue Button technology. During the $50,000 contest, consumers can vote on presented ideas.

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