Australia - A new blueprint for mental health services This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In November 2015, Australia’s government announced major reforms to its mental health system. The reforms introduce a ‘stepped care’ model in which patients receive varying levels of primary care treatment, along with integrated team care. Other measures include national coordinated services for children and youth, and increased funding for suicide prevention and digital technologies.

Canada - New Wait Time Alliance Report Card reveals important lessons for next Health Accord This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Wait Time Alliance's (WTA) tenth national report card shows that, despite encouraging signs that wait times for the initial five areas identified in the 2004 Health Accord are being reduced, progress to reduce waits for care other medical procedures and treatments is spotty across the country.

Europe - Health investments in the EU: mapping report showing use of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) now available online This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The European Union (EU) has released a report that shows how use of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are financing health sector investments by its 28 member states. The report presents information on each EU country’s expected use of ESIF in health care until 2020. Overall, most funding has been committed to healthcare access, followed by infrastructure spending.

France - Marisol Touraine details the national 2015-2018 plan for the development of palliative and end-of-life care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The National Plan announced by the French government in early December 2015 involves the creation of a national center dedicated to palliative and end of life care to help users and professionals deepen their knowledge. It also provides for the implementation of the palliative approach in professional practices, improved financial arrangements for natural caregivers and a reduction of inequalities in access to palliative care.

UK - Unprecedented investment in the NHS This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The UK Government has announced that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) will receive an additional £10 billion annually by 2020 in order to further integrate services and increase access to primary care. By the end of its mandate in May 2020, the current UK government will have spent half a trillion pounds on the NHS, an unprecedented level of investment.

USA - National patient safety efforts save 87,000 lives and nearly $20 billion in costs This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that 87,000 fewer US hospital patients died and nearly $20 billion in healthcare costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions between 2010 and 2014. The data shows demonstrable progress in improving patient safety in hospital settings.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Fourth global symposium on health systems research
Three themes take centre stage at this year's conference: resilience to absorb shocks and sustain gains; responsiveness to anticipate change and respect rights; and innovation, which sees health systems as incubators for new ideas. The call for abstracts to present in one of over 90 concurrent sessions on the programme is now open. The deadline to submit a proposal for an organized session is January 24 2016; for individual abstracts, the deadline is March 20, 2016. The conference takes place in Vancouver from November 14 to 18, 2016.

Canada - Innovating in a time of transformation: a must!
This edition of the Jean-Yves Rivard colloquium will address issues and levers generated by health system reforms in different countries. The role of governance in a context of transformation will be discussed and CISSS and CIUSSS stakeholders will present innovations in the context of current reforms in Quebec's health system. The conference takes place February 18, 2016, in Montreal.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Comparison of Family Health Teams to Other Primary Care Models, 2004/05 to 2011/12 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Produced by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), this longitudinal analysis fills a longstanding knowledge gap by comparing outcomes of Family Health Team patients in relation to other Ontario primary care models over time. The report has been released in tandem with a paper addressing population variability in Ontario Community Health Centre (CHC) data.

Europe - Taking a participatory approach to development and better health. Examples from the Regions for Health Network This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Released by the WHO, this report documents participatory approaches to development and health improvement taken by health systems with regional jurisdictions in four European countries. Case studies provide details of participatory health approaches in the regions of Skåne (Sweden), Trento (Italy), Andalusia (Spain), and Wales (UK).

Switzerland – Switzerland: Health system review. Health Systems in Transition, 2015 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies presents a look at the health system in Switzerland, where life expectancy is the second highest in Europe. It examines efforts since 2000 to improve the country's mandatory health insurance program, and discusses challenges in lowering healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP and reducing the burden of out-of-pocket costs on lower income households

UK - What evidence is there on the effectiveness of different models of delivering urgent care? A rapid review This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This UK rapid review examines 45 systematic reviews and 102 primary studies to assess the evidence base on emergency and urgent care delivery in the UK and identify knowledge gaps. It recommends more mapping of demand to inform service planning and highlights the need for research to evaluate the effectiveness of different models of delivering urgent care.

UK - Diagnosis: overrated - an analysis of the structural flaws in the NHS This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Part of an academic project designed to assess what services the UK government should provide, this economics paper on the NHS criticizes the British public healthcare system’s ‘monopoly’ status, outcomes, bureaucracy, changing strategies, lack of transparency and financial acumen. It says health systems with the best results tend to be based on competition, consumer sovereignty and freedom of choice.

International - Case-based Payment Systems for Hospital Funding in Asia. An Investigation of Current Status and Future Directions This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the OECD, this book presents a study of payment systems based on Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) that focuses on hospital funding arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region. The book assembles international evidence regarding the impact on cost, quality and efficiency of introducing of a DRG-based hospital payment system.

International - For-Profit Hospitals and Insurers in Universal Health Care Countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This paper from the Fraser Institute seeks to correct the perception that private, for-profit institutions are incompatible with universal-access health care. It examines the presence of for-profit hospitals and for-profit health care insurers in the healthcare systems of six nations with universal healthcare systems: Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.

International - Health in 2015: from MDGs to SDGs This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This WHO report identifies the key drivers of progress in health under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It lays out actions that countries and the international community should prioritize to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which come into effect on 1 January 2016.

International - Systematic review of integrated models of health care delivered at the primary–secondary interface: how effective is it and what determines effectiveness? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Conducted in Australia, this review of 10 studies identifies characteristics of integrated primary-secondary care models that help deliver favourable clinical outcomes. Six common elements are identified: interdisciplinary teamwork, information exchange, shared guidelines, training, acceptability for patients, and viable funding. The authors note that integrated primary-secondary care’s actual impact on clinical outcomes is limited compared to usual care.