Canada - Canadian governments must rethink healthcare on five areas of national priority, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In “Challenging Vested Interests: National Priorities for Healthcare,” authors Åke Blomqvist and Colin Busby find that compared to the healthcare systems of a large group of peers, Canadian systems do not produce enough high-quality care for the money spent. The authors outline five healthcare policy priorities for 2016: 1. Policies to Improve Value for Money, 2. Gaps in Public and Private Coverage, 3. The Canada Health Transfer – Hold the Line and Tweak, 4. A New Health Accord, and 5. Direct Federal Health Programs

Mexico - The Mexican health care system has made great progress during the last decade – but the remaining challenges are daunting This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A new review of health care in Mexico has found that 50 million Mexicans previously unable to afford care now have access to health insurance. Key indicators such as infant mortality and heart attack deaths have also improved as healthcare spending reached 3.2% of GDP in 2013. Obesity and overweight are significant problems, affecting 71% of Mexico's adult population.

UK - Prime Minister pledges a revolution in mental health treatment This hyperlink will open in a new window.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a billion-pound investment to enhance mental health services across the UK. Nearly £250 million is earmarked for services in hospital emergency departments, with another £400 million for specialist community care and £290 million set aside for mental health services for new mothers.

USA - Future Pandemics Pose Massive Risks to Human Lives, Global Economic Security, Says New Report This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Infectious disease pandemics can kill millions of people and cause losses of trillions of dollars, says a new report from the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future. The Commission estimates that economic losses from potential pandemics could amount to $60 billion per year, and recommends an annual global investment of $4.5 billion to enhance prevention, detection, and preparedness.

UK - First national evaluation of NHS Health Check programme published This hyperlink will open in a new window.
An evaluation of the National Health Service (NHS) Health Check program in England has found it effective at identifying people at risk of major cardiovascular incidents, preventing 2,500 cases since its start in 2010. The program is the first in the world to tackle prevention of heart attacks and strokes by offering a free check to every adult over age 40.

Upcoming Events

Canada - McGill Primary Care Policy Symposium
In celebration of its 40th anniversary, and in partnership with the Institute for Health and Social Policy, St. Mary's Research Centre, and RUIS McGill, the McGill Department of Family Medicine will be hosting a primary care policy symposium on May 6, 2016, in Montreal. The symposium will engage participants in a discussion on a vision and a roadmap for primary care in Quebec.

Canada - The 22nd International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions World Congress (IACAPAP 2016)
The 2016 Congress takes place in Calgary from September 18 to 22, 2016. It is an opportunity to exchange and present scientific research for the betterment of child and adolescent mental health. The theme of the meeting is "Fighting Stigma, Promoting Resiliency and Positive Mental Health" and organizers have issued a call for abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations as well as workshops. The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2016.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Belgium - Performance of The Belgian Health System - Report 2015 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Using 106 indicators, this report on Belgium’s healthcare system from 2008 to 2013 lists the system’s strengths and weaknesses, and recommends future priorities for performance improvement. Overall, Belgians are satisfied with their health care, and 78% consider themselves healthy. In terms of quality of care, the country is slightly above the European average.

Canada - A 3-year study of high-cost users of health care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This study presents a 2009-2011 retrospective analysis of Ontario residents. It identifies the clinical diagnoses, demographic characteristics and costs of high-cost users of healthcare (users with the highest 5% of costs). Diagnoses included chronic diseases, infections, and palliative care. Most spending among high-cost users was for institutional care; costs were far more concentrated among children than older adults.

Canada - Review of Family Medicine Within Rural and Remote Canada: Education, Practice, and Policy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Advancing Rural Family Medicine Canadian Collaborative Taskforce released, on January 18, 2016, this document describing current challenges in recruitment and retention of rural physicians, and the lack of infrastructure and resources to support educational opportunities that might promote rural practice. Some 14% of family physicians currently practice in rural and remote areas.

Canada - Portrait of rural emergency departments in Québec and utilization of the provincial emergency department management Guide: cross sectional survey This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Rural emergency departments (EDs) constitute crucial safety nets for the 20 % of Canadians who live in rural areas. Pilot data suggests that the province of Québec appears to provide more comprehensive access to services than do other provinces. A difference that may be attributable to provincial policy/guidelines “the provincial ED management Guide”. The aim of this study was to provide a detailed description of rural EDs in Québec and utilization of the provincial ED management Guide.

Denmark - Firms’ reshaping of commercialization practices to overcome the ‘not invented here’ phenomenon in public healthcare organizations This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This case study of four Public Private Innovation (PPI) projects in Denmark’s public healthcare system describes how the participating companies commercialized co-created welfare solutions. Findings reveal the PPI firms experienced the ‘not invented here’ phenomenon (essentially a resistance to outside innovation) in hospitals and other Danish healthcare services. The phenomenon appears to hamper the commercialization of innovations.

France: Health system review. Health Systems in Transition, 2015 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Assessing the current performance of France’s healthcare system, this review notes that, while the French population has a good level of health, the overall picture is mixed. Rising healthcare costs along with large-scale health inequalities across socioeconomic and geographical groups are increasingly problematic. Public financing of healthcare expenditure is nearly the highest in Europe.

Ireland - From universal health insurance to universal healthcare? The shifting health policy landscape in Ireland since the economic crisis This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Although Ireland experienced a severe economic crisis in 2008, its current government has promised a universal single-tiered health system beginning in 2016. This article assessing policy intent and practice argues that the government proposal is mostly rhetoric, saying years of austerity have resulted in poorer access to health care in Ireland and little extension of coverage.

UK - Evaluating the role and contribution of innovation to health and wealth in the UK: A review of Innovation, Health and Wealth: Phase 1 Final Report This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report represents the first phase of a three-year evaluation of the UK Department of Health's Innovation, Health and Wealth (IHW) strategy to introduce a more strategic approach to the spread of innovation across Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). Relying on document reviews, informant interviews and stakeholder surveys, the evaluation shows broad support for the IHW strategy.

International - How High-Need Patients Experience the Health Care System in Nine Countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Conducted by a US health foundation, this analysis investigates healthcare use, quality, and experience among high-need patients in nine countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US). It finds that high-need patients use more healthcare than others, and experience more bureaucracy and financial barriers to care. Disparities are particularly pronounced in the US.

International - International profiles of health care systems 2015 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This publication presents overviews of the health care systems of Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Each overview covers health insurance, public and private financing, health system organization and governance, health care quality and coordination, disparities, efficiency and integration, use of information technology and evidence-based practice, cost containment, and recent reforms and innovations.