Headlines

Canada - Quebec Ranks In The Middle Of The Pack On Population Health This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Quebecers give themselves top grades for their health. Yet, when Quebecers' health is compared to that of other Canadian provinces and advanced countries, Quebec ranks in the middle of the pack, according to The Conference Board of Canada's How Canada Performs: Health report card. Quebec gets an overall "B" grade and finishes 11th among 29 jurisdictions in the first-ever report card that includes the provinces, territories and 16 peer countries. Quebec places third among the provinces behind British Columbia and Ontario, and just below Canada as a whole.

Canada - Alberta Health Services announces cost-containment measures This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has announced it is implementing cost-containment measures to deal with a budgetary shortfall due to falling oil revenues. The measures will affect three areas: payroll and staffing costs, procurement of goods and services and discretionary spending. Similar measures are being adopted across Alberta’s provincial government.

Canada - First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework Launched This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework identifies ways to enhance service coordination among various systems and support culturally safe delivery of services. The Framework is the result of extensive collaboration that began in 2012 among the Assembly of First Nations, Health Canada, and community mental health leaders. The process included a comprehensive mapping of existing mental health and addictions programming that identified gaps and ways to address and avoid them.

UK - NHS England and Public Health England guide highlights importance of communities to health and wellbeing This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A new public health guide from the English branch of the UK National Health Service (NHS) highlights the importance of local government in building healthy happy communities. The guide calls on municipalities to support partnerships between health services and community and voluntary organizations. The UK recently decentralized its public health system and transferred control to local authorities.

USA - Surgical complications are top reason for hospital readmissions This hyperlink will open in a new window.
According to a study from Harvard University, surgical complications are the top reason for hospital readmission in the US. The authors looked at 500,000 operations conducted in 2012 and found a nearly 6% overall hospital readmission rate. Most readmissions were attributable to surgical wound infections. Nationwide, the annual total number of post-surgical infections is estimated at around 170,000.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Strategic Procurement and Innovation: Opportunities for Improving Canada's Health Care Systems
The Conference Board of Canada will be holding a full-day workshop in Toronto on May 20 and a one-day conference on May 21, 2015, to examine how better procurement policies and practices can promote innovation. Presentations will explore how strategic innovation procurement can improve quality, safety, and outcomes without driving up costs. International experience and successful models will be described.

Canada - e-Health 2015: Making Connections
This national trade show and conference takes place in Toronto from May 31 to June 3, 2015. It will highlight quality health information technologies as well as effective integrated system solutions.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Brazil - Considerations on the Brazilian national health system (SUS) performance index This hyperlink will open in a new window.
One of the quality measures used by Brazil’s National Health System (SUS) is the Brazilian National Health System Performance Index (IDSUS), which assesses the effectiveness of health care in municipalities and regions. This study looks at the potential of IDSUS to improve Brazilian public health management, but finds that its application and usage remains patchy across the country.

Canada - Are health expenditures out of control? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This socio-economic brief from the Institut de recherche et d'information socio-économique (IRIS) decries the use of increasing healthcare costs to justify the impossibility of maintaining public health services in Quebec. The authors demonstrate how this catastrophic view is not only simplistic but also generates counterproductive solutions such as increasing the role of the private sector.

Canada - Doctors without Hospitals: What to do about Specialists Who Can’t Find Work This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Canadian healthcare is facing a new challenge as recently graduated specialist physicians struggle to find work, even while there are long waits for their services. This paper from the C. D. Howe Institute examines how separate budgets for hospitals and specialists add to this problem, and proposes dismantling the two-silo approach to paying doctors and funding hospitals.

USA - Improving Care Delivery Through Lean: Implementation Case Studies This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Lean is an organizational redesign approach increasingly used in health systems to eliminate waste and improve performance without adding costs. This study assesses the application of Lean in six US healthcare organizations. It finds that the goals, content, implementation and context of Lean programs varies widely, perhaps because Lean itself is often described differently in the literature.

Canada - Who gets a family physician through centralized waiting lists? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2011, Quebec introduced financial incentives for family physicians to enrol patients through centralized waiting lists, with higher payments awarded for vulnerable patients. This study examines enrolments and finds they have quadrupled since the introduction of incentives, although most of the increase involves non-vulnerable patients, who represent 70% of those currently enrolled through centralized lists.

France – Health of the French population — 2015 edition This hyperlink will open in a new window.
>Presenting more than 200 indicators, this detailed overview from the DREES combines population, health determinant and pathological approaches to illustrate the health of the French population. It also highlights the major health problems public policies must confront, including social inequalities in health.

Europe - Weekend Mortality on the Continent. The cases of Germany and France This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Increases in mortality over weekends in the UK are attributed to lower clinical staffing, urgent medical needs and more complex surgeries. This study by British researchers investigates whether mortality goes up at weekends in Germany and France. It finds a weak weekend effect in Germany, but cannot establish one in France because of a lack of data.

The Netherlands - Creating Advantages with Franchising in Healthcare: An Explorative Mixed Methods Study on the Role of the Relationship between the Franchisor and Units This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Franchising involves a contractual arrangement between a franchisor, who offers a brand name, support systems, and a specification of the services that must be delivered in local units, and a franchisee who provides services in local units using the business format. The model is common in other industries and is increasingly used by healthcare to improve organizational, professional, and client-related results. This Dutch paper surveyed 43 healthcare franchisors and 442 staff to explore links between the results they achieve and the relationships between franchise actors. The authors consider that open, committed cooperative franchise relationships foster synergy and local fit while preventing professional resistance.

USA - Health Impact Assessment Legislation in the States This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Many US states are considering bills to require the use of health impact assessments (HIAs) or the adoption of parts of their methodologies. This briefing note looks at the efforts of eight states and highlights key considerations for readers interested in the introduction of HIA legislation in other states.

UK - The NHS under the coalition government. Part one: NHS reform This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Britain has been ruled for the past five years by a coalition government between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats. This report examines how the UK National Health Service (NHS) has fared since the coalition government introduced controversial healthcare reforms in 2012 to devolve decision-making, integrate services, and extend competition and choice.

Europe - The Long-Term Sustainability of European Health Care Systems This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Europe’s healthcare systems need to secure economic and financial sustainability without undermining universal coverage. This Italian paper maintains that new regulatory supply and demand tools would improve the ways European health systems incentivize and reward patients. The authors also consider that rebalanced public-private funding mixes could assure sustainability, but would produce some increases in health inequities.