Headlines

Canada - Federal and Provincial Governments Launch MyHealthNS to Improve Health Care in Nova Scotia This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Doctors and patients in Nova Scotia can now get routine test results and share information through MyHealthNS, a new secure online tool. Patients of participating physicians receiving results from the QEII Health Sciences Centre, the IWK Health Centre or other facilities in the Halifax, Eastern Shore and West Hants areas will now be able to access this information on their smartphone or other web-enabled devices. The system will be expanded to all other parts of the province by early 2017, making Nova Scotia the first province in Canada to offer a digital health service option provincewide.

Canada - Health Quality Council of Alberta Releases Follow up Report to 2013 Continuity of Patient Care Study This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Released in July 2016, this follow-up report to a 2013 study on continuity of care finds that considerable effort has been made by Alberta stakeholders towards implementing the study's recommendations. The newly released report identifies measures that stand to have the greatest impact on continuity of care for the greatest number of patients.

Ireland - Minister Harris announces action plan on waiting lists This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Irish Minister of Health has announced a plan to reduce the number of patients currently on waiting lists. By the end of 2016, the new plan is expected to cut the number of patients waiting over 18 months by 50%. Waiting list improvement programs will be started in all of the country's hospitals, and will be monitored monthly.

UK - Plans for changing healthcare education funding This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Following consultations on funding for students of nursing, midwifery, and allied health professions, the British government has announced plans to improve accessibility to education for these professions by providing increased support for student travel, accommodation, and child care. Qualifying students will receive 25% more financial support than they do currently.

USA - Rising to the Challenge. The Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on Local Health System Performance, 2016 Edition This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Assessing 36 indicators of access, quality, avoidable hospitalization, cost and outcomes across 306 local health systems, this report finds wide variation in health and healthcare across American communities. Overall, health care improve in the period observed (2013-15), and improvement often corresponded to public policy implementation, notably the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").

International - Countries start to act on noncommunicable diseases but need to speed up efforts to meet global commitments This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report by the WHO highlights the need to intensify national action to meet global targets that have been adopted on four noncommunicable diseases (NCDs): heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and lung diseases. Globally, these 4 noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) represent the largest cause of death in people aged under 70 years, posing a major threat to sustainable development.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Finding and Using Research Evidence to Inform Decision-making in Health Systems and Organizations
Want to be at the leading edge of the fast paced field of how to bring the best evidence to bear on pressing policy issues in support of health-system strengthening? Don’t miss your chance to attend one of the McMaster Health Forum’s Health Systems Learning fall workshops: One-day workshop - September 15, 2016. Develop your skills in acquiring, assessing, adapting and applying the best available research evidence. Five-day workshop - October 17 -21, 2016. Master the skills required to acquire, assess, adapt and apply research evidence by working with McMaster Health Forum faculty to prepare a high-quality summary of the available research evidence on a topic you are actively working on in your own organization.

UK - International Health Policy Conference 2017
The London School of Economics (LSE) Health & Social Care and Department of Social Policy have issued a call for papers for their inaugural International Health Policy Conference to be held from February 16 to 19, 2017, in London. Papers are invited on 5 themes: international health systems, social care and mental health, regulation and assessment of health technologies, behaviour, and population studies. The deadline for abstract submission is October 1, 2016.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - OECD health-care quality indicators for Australia 2015 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report summarizes information Australia provided to the OECD's Health at a Glance 2015 Report. It compares data supplied by Australia in 2015 with data from previous years and data from the other 33 countries of the OECD. The OECD healthcare quality indicators provide a common set of measures for member states.

Canada - The impact of primary care reform on health system performance in Canada: a systematic review This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Using 15 years of records (2000-2015) from Embase, PubMed, and Web of Science databases, this study aimed to draw inferences about whether primary care reforms have improved health system performance based on measures of utilization, processes of care, and physician productivity. It found some evidence that team-based models of care led to reductions in emergency department use and improved care processes.

Canada - Is the Budget Balance Fragile or Robust? Quebec Faces Health Funding Challenges This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Institut du Quebec produced this paper looking at whether the province's newly balanced budget can withstand health spending increases. It finds Quebec now has enough financial leeway to increase health spending by 4.2% a year. If the economy slows substantially, a balanced budget could be preserved if the federal government reverted to 6% annual growth in the Canada Health Transfer.

Canada - Paying For Primary Care: The Relationship between Payment for Primary Care Physicians and Selection of Patients Based on Case-Mix This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Using administrative data to compare primary care physicians across payment models in Ontario, this study analyzes whether physicians respond to financial incentives by selecting patients based on their risk profile. After controlling for physician self-selection, the study found no evidence of risk-selection behaviour.

Canada - Hold the Applause: Why Provincial Restraint on Healthcare Spending Might Not Last This hyperlink will open in a new window.
According to this report by the CD Howe Institute, the recent downward bending of provincial healthcare cost curves across Canada (an average 0.6% drop in 2015) will likely be temporary due to rising drug cost pressures and an inability to maintain large decreases in capital spending. The authors recommend that the federal government ensure provincial health transfers never fall below 3% annually.

China - Types of health care facilities and the quality of primary care: a study of characteristics and experiences of Chinese patients in Guangdong Province, China This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This study assesses potential differences in the quality of primary care provided in Chinese county hospitals, rural community health centres (CHCs), urban CHCs, and tertiary and secondary hospitals. Based on a survey of a total 8,640 patients in Guangdong province, the authors used a Primary Care Assessment Tool (PCAT) to compare quality domains. Results showed that urban CHCs provided the best quality primary care by far.

The Netherlands - Health System in Transition, 2016 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Produced by the WHO, this review looks at the current state of health care in the Netherlands. While the country has some of Europe's highest per capita health expenditures, costs are slowing considerably following of the introduction of managed system competition and universal social health insurance. Out-of-pocket payments are low from an international perspective, and healthcare quality remains high.

UK - Is bigger better? Lessons for large-scale general practice This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In Britain, three-quarters of general practices are now working collaboratively within larger-scale organizations. Drawn from a study of 22 large-scale practices, this report examines factors affecting the evolution of general practice and its impact on quality, staff, and patient experience. It finds that larger scale practices encourage efficiency, standardized processes, use of technology and employee security, but has mixed effects on quality improvement and patient satisfaction.

International - Better Ways to Pay for Health Care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the OECD, this briefing document looks at policies used internationally to improve healthcare quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Many policy efforts now align payer and provider incentives by using evidence-based clinical guidelines and outcomes to inform price setting, which could bolster a patient-centred focus to improve sustainable healthcare delivery and performance in the long-run.