Canada - Most Canadians receive priority procedures within medically acceptable wait times This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information’s new report, Wait Times for Priority Procedures in Canada, 2017, shows that 3 out of 4 Canadians received their procedure within the medically recommended wait time. This edition includes regional-level data for hip and knee replacements, as well as provincial data in 5 priority areas: cancer treatment, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight restoration. It also features updated interactive graphics on wait times across the country.

France - Marisol Touraine once again injects more funding into combatting medical deserts This hyperlink will open in a new window.
On March 10, 2017, France's Minister of Social Affairs and Health announced new measures to attract general practitioners in underserved areas. The criteria for selecting places that will benefit from assistance were revised, enabling a more precise definition of population needs by territory and reducing inequities in access to care. 

USA - NAM Releases Publication on How to Improve Nation's Health System This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This paper from the National Academy of Medicine presents a policy framework for US health system improvement. It describes eight actions and infrastructure priorities to significantly advance American health, health care, and science. This publication is part of the National Academy of Medicine’s Vital Directions for Health and Health Care Initiative, which called on more than 150 leading researchers, scientists, and policy makers from across the United States to assess and provide expert guidance on 19 priority issues for U.S. health policy.

Ireland - Minister Harris addresses Future of Health Care Committee on future direction of Health Policy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ireland’s Health Minister, Simon Harris, laid out his government’s health policies in a speech to the parliamentary Future of Health Care Committee. The minister said primary care and system capacity are priorities, as is the provision of a statutory basis for hospitals to operate as integrated delivery systems.

International - Sustainable access to innovative therapies - Online consultation This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The OECD has initiated an online consultation with stakeholders on improving patient access to innovative medicines and ensuring a sustainable level of health spending. Reponses can be submitted in English or French by May 1, 2017.

Upcoming Events

Canada – e-Health 2017
Taking place June 4 to 7, 2017, in Toronto, the conference offers over 250 oral and poster presentations on a wide range of topics, from telemedicine, to hospital system upgrades to patient engagement, big data and strategic integration. Early bird registration continues until May 26.

UK - Healthcare Value
The University of Oxford is offering a short course in healthcare value, from June 19 to 23, 2017. It will enable participants to understand the shift to value-based health and social care and describe key conceptual frameworks, analytical methods and skills to participate in transformation in health care. The deadline for applications is June 2, 2017.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Implementation of Integrated Service Networks under the Quebec Mental Health Reform: Facilitators and Barriers associated with Different Territorial Profiles This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Using interview data obtained from 208 psychiatrists, managers and network stakeholders, this study evaluates the implementation of the Quebec Mental Health Reform (2005–2015), which saw the development of 11 integrated local service networks organized into four territorial groups. Organizational factors were the strongest barriers to implementation in most networks.  

Canada - Understanding and Implementing Best Practices in Accountability This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Relying on document analysis and informant interviews, this study assesses whether findings on best practices in accountability from a previous Ontario-based study (Approaches to Accountability, 2014) apply across Canada. Results reinforce earlier findings, showing that goals, resources, stable leadership and a focus on transitions points within the system are essential to good practice, as is the availability of good measurement.

Europe - Strategic investments for the future of healthcare This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report summarizes a seminar organized by the EU to promote innovative large-scale strategic investment in Europe’s health sector. The report champions the use of EU financial instruments, such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments, to help absorb financial risk, and calls for network building across the public and private sectors to pursue partnered investments in health.

Europe - Culture matters: using a cultural contexts of health approach to enhance policy-making This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the WHO, this policy brief explores the three key public health areas of nutrition, migration and the environment. It demonstrates how cultural awareness is central to understanding health, wellbeing, and the development of effective and equitable health policies. The brief argues that public health policy-making should apply research from the humanities and social sciences.

Europe - Delivering hospital services: A greater role for the private sector? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Produced by the EU, this report examines the provision of private hospital services in Europe. It maps the extent of private provision, examines the drivers for increased private provision, and presents the views of different stakeholders. The report also analyses the implications of private provision for the public sector, and for the efficiency, accessibility and quality of services.

Europe - BLOCKS: tools and methodologies to assess integrated care in Europe This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Released by the EU Expert Group on Health Systems Performance Assessment, this report summarizes tools and methodologies to assess integrated care in Europe. It discusses interrelated system levers for the effective design and implementation of integrated care frameworks that relate to politics, governance, stakeholder engagement, organizational change, leadership, workforce education and training, patient empowerment, infrastructure, financing, monitoring and evaluation.

UK - Understanding NHS financial pressures: how are they affecting patient care? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report examines what current National Health Service (NHS) financial constraints mean for patient care in four areas: genito-urinary medicine (GUM), district nursing, elective hip replacement, and neonatal services. Strong evidence was found that quality of care has suffered in GUM and district nursing services. Waiting times for hip replacements are also rising, although neonatal services appear to have maintained quality.

Switzerland - Establishing and managing an effective system of critical incident reporting This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Critical Incident Reporting Systems (CIRS) is one of the most important tools for identifying risks, errors and critical events, along with their underlying causes. These recommendations to healthcare establishments describe essential conditions for using CIRS. They include support from all levels of management, a constructive culture of risk and error management, the ability to show positive effects from reporting, and the sharing of lessons learned.

USA - Aiming Higher: Results from the Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on State Health System Performance 2017 Edition This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The 2017 edition of this scorecard finds that health systems in nearly all US States improved on a broad array of health indicators between 2013 and 2015. During this period, the proportion of people without insurance fell, and more people were able to access needed care, particularly in states that expanded Medicaid programs. On a less positive note, premature death rates rose slightly between 2011 and 2014.

International - The Effects of Pay-for-Performance Programs on Health, Health Care Use, and Processes of Care: A Systematic Review This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Updating a prior review of the effects of pay-for-performance (P4P) programs on processes of care and patient outcomes in ambulatory and inpatient settings, this systematic review of 69 studies finds low-strength evidence suggesting that P4P programs in ambulatory settings may improve process-of-care outcomes over the short term. Many of the positive studies were conducted in the UK, where incentives were larger than in the US.

International - Measuring social protection for long-term care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The OECD released this report presenting the first international comparison of levels of social protection for long-term care (LTC) in 14 OECD countries. Focusing on five scenarios with different LTC needs and services, it quantifies the cost of care; the level of coverage by social protection systems and out-of-pocket costs; and the affordability of these costs.