Canada - Depression now equal to high blood pressure as a top reason Canadians see physicians This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In this news release, Morneau Shepell presents results of a recent survey on the prevalence and impact of depression in the workplace. Among the findings: half of managers believe they have employees with mental health issues; workplace engagement levels are strongly correlated with mental health issues; and the stigma around mental health issues remains apparent. The survey also finds that 63 per cent of physicians report the fastest increase in the number of their recent cases is from depression, anxiety disorders and stress-related issues.

Europe - 2015 Euro Health Consumer Index This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Euro Health Consumer Index 2015 ranks consumer satisfaction with healthcare systems in 35 European countries. Its rankings show the Netherlands as the country with the best healthcare system, followed by Switzerland. The Index also indicates that survival rates of heart disease, stroke, and cancer continue to increase.

Ireland - Varadkar launches Ireland’s first National Maternity Strategy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ireland’s Minister of Health has launched the country’s first national maternity strategy: Creating a Better Future Together, a roadmap for obstetrical and maternity service improvement over the next 10 years. The strategy emphasizes improvements to facilities and staffing levels alongside the adoption of a partnership approach with expectant mothers.

Sweden - Measures for shorter waiting times in cancer care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Swedish government is carrying out a number of measures to ensure improvements in the country’s cancer care system. Between now and 2018, it will set aside 500 million krona per year ($82 million Cdn) to ensure more equitable and accessible cancer care that shortens waiting times and reduces regional differences.

International - A New Resource for Exploring Health Care around the World This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This website presents profiles of healthcare systems in 18 countries in Europe, North America, and Asia, along with Australia. Readers can compare health system organization and insurance, financing, quality, coordination, efficiency, integration, information technology use, evidence-based practice, cost containment and recent reforms and innovations.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Clinical Governance: Time to Decide!
On April 15 and 16, 2016, in Montreal, the Québec Medical Association will hold a conference to discuss and formulate a response to changes to the structural and functional organization of resources and services brought about by the adoption of Bills 10 and 20. The results of a physician survey on principles for clinical governance will also serve as the basis for discussion throughout the meeting.

Canada - Optimizing the Canadian Health Workforce
The Canadian Health Human Resources Network is holding its 2016 conference in Ottawa from October 3 to 5, 2016. The theme of the conference is inspired by the recently released report from the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences on Optimizing Scopes of Practice, which sets out a vision for a health workforce that is both more flexible and accountable to population and community health needs. The call for abstracts is now open, with a deadline of April 1.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - The new Australian Primary Health Networks: how will they integrate public health and primary care? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2015, Australia established 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to improve care coordination and effectiveness, particularly in rural and remote areas and for populations at high risk. This study by a trio of researchers contrasts their different perspectives on how the new PHNs can help to integrate public health into the Australian primary healthcare landscape.

Canada - A better basket of services. Brief submitted as part of a public consultation on public coverage of health and social services This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This brief was produced as part of the public consultation launched in August 2015 by the Commissioner for health and well-being of Quebec (CEBS) regarding public coverage of health and social services. This consultation covers the basket of services covered by public health insurance to reflect changing needs of the population, changing technology and limited financial resources.

Canada - Select Cost Sharing in Universal Health Care Countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A prominent feature of Canada’s public healthcare system is the absence of any charge at the point of consumption. This article by the Fraser Institute argues against this “first-dollar” coverage, citing international evidence that it encourages the consumption of services whose costs exceed associated benefits. The article also cites evidence that cost sharing does not result in adverse health outcomes.

Canada - Mental health. Special Issue. Healthcare Quarterly This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This special issue of Longwood’s Health Quarterly focuses on mental health in Canada. Topics of the 10 article include: psychiatrist health human resource planning, early intervention programs for psychoses and mood disorders, community recovery services, peer support, the social determinants of health (housing and income) and Ontario mental healthcare delivery.

USA - Using Behavioral Economics to Design Physician Incentives That Deliver High-Value Care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The field of behavioural economics is built on the premise that human behaviour is not always rational. This study focuses on principles relevant to influencing physician practice patterns and performance, such as loss aversion, choice overload, and relative social ranking. The authors argue that physicians’ monetary incentive programs should account for how emotions and social status, among other variables, factor into provider decisions.

UK - Lessons for major system change: centralization of stroke services in two metropolitan areas of England This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Conducted in the cities of London and Manchester, this study identifies leadership factors that influenced the centralization of acute stroke service into a smaller number of high-volume specialist units. In London, stakeholders were forced to implement a centralized service model, whereas Manchester’s leaders achieved change through consensus and accommodated stakeholders with a less radical transformation of services.

UK - Demand management for planned care: a realist synthesis This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The task of matching demand with capacity is a pressing concern in healthcare systems as increasing demand (aging populations, the availability of new treatments) meets stagnating supply (capacity and funding restrictions on staff and services). This report reviews the effectiveness of British strategies to alleviate demand pressures in planned care and finds little alignment between purported problems and proposed solutions.

International - Priority Setting for Universal Health Coverage This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This special issue of Health Systems and Reform presents articles prepared for a conference held in Bangkok in January 2016 on the theme of priority setting for universal health coverage. The issue features commentaries from top global health leaders, articles on the challenges of prioritization and remarks by World Bank representatives on priorities for universal health coverage.