Canada - Ontario's Government for the People Affirms Patient Values and Health Care Expectations This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ontario's government has published a Patient Declaration of Values to provide guidelines for developing programs and services that support patients as partners in care across the province's health system. Core elements include respect and dignity, accountability, transparency, equity and engagement. The Ontario Minister of Health’s Patient and Family Advisory Council produced the Declaration in collaboration with health system leaders.

Canada - Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare provides preliminary recommendations to the Government of Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare has issued a preliminary report making three recommendations: a new national drug agency to oversee Pharmacare; a new national formulary of prescribed drugs to harmonize coverage; and investments in data on prescription drugs and information technology systems. A final report is due in spring 2019.

Europe - Highest proportion of government expenditure goes to social protection and health This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A new report from Eurostat, the statistics arm of the European Union (EU), shows that the highest proportion of government spending in Europe goes to social programs (an average 18.8% of country GDP in 2017) and health (7%). Social protection and health have increased more than other government expenditures over the past decade.

Europe - Euro Health Consumer Index 2018 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by Health Consumer Powerhouse, the latest consumer index on health in Europe finds that European health care continues to produce better results. Survival rates for heart disease, stroke and cancer have all increased and infant mortality has dropped substantially. The index rates Switzerland, the Netherlands and Norway as the countries with the best healthcare systems in Europe.

Ireland - Minister for Health publishes the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 to improve Acute Hospital Waiting Times This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ireland's Health Minister has published a plan to reduce patient waiting lists. It sets out a number of commitments aimed at improving access to acute hospital procedures and outpatient appointments. The €75 million plan ($113 million Cdn) focuses on 10 high volume procedures, including cataracts, joint replacements, tonsillitis and angiograms.

International - WHO launches new global influenza strategy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The WHO has released a Global Influenza Strategy for 2019-2030 that aims to build country capacities for disease surveillance and response, while developing better tools to prevent, detect, treat and control influenza. Every year, the world's population experiences an estimated billion cases of influenza, resulting in 300,000 to 650,000 deaths.

Upcoming Events

Canada - e-Health 2019
This national conference and tradeshow, now in its 19th year, is an opportunity to learn about health information and integrated system solutions. It attracts large numbers of health professionals along with exhibitors from the digital health community. This year's conference takes place in Toronto from May 26 to 29.

New Zealand - Addressing Health Service Inequities to Improve Health System Performance This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The call for abstract submissions for the Health Services and Policy Research Conference is now open. April 5 is the deadline for authors to submit a group of related presentations as a symposium proposal around a central theme. Abstracts for standard presentations may be submitted between mid-April and mid-July. The conference will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, from December 4 to 6, 2019.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - The importance of Community Health Centres in BC’s primary care reforms. What the research tells us This hyperlink will open in a new window.
British Columbia is emphasizing the role of Community Health Centres (CHCs) in ongoing primary care reforms, a new strategy in a province that has not much utilized CHCs in the past. This article, based on a February 2019 roundtable of BC health sector organizations, discusses the benefits of the CHC model with particular reference to its use in Ontario and the United States.

Canada - Attaching Patients in Primary Care through Centralized Waiting Lists.Seven Canadian Provinces Compared This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Canada has one of the lowest rates of access to primary care among high-income countries. To address this concern, seven provinces have implemented centralized waiting lists (CWLs) for unattached patients. This interprovincial comparison examines CWL implementation at three stages (registration, patient assessment, and affiliation). Common issues with CWLs include ensuring access for vulnerable patients, the need to monitor implementation, and the shortage of primary care providers.

Canada - Regional differences in where and how family medicine residents intend to practise: a cross-sectional survey analysis This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Family medicine residents choose among a range of practice options as they enter the workforce. This paper examines the professional preferences of residents across Canada with regards to practice setting, organizational model, clinical domain and population served. Analyzing data from the College of Family Physicians and 16 university residency programs, the paper finds that 80% of residents intend to practice in a team-based model.

Canada - Improving Advance Medical Directives: Lessons from Quebec This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Canadians should be able to meaningfully express their preferences for end-of-life care through advance medical directives (AMDs). More values-based, collaborative approaches to AMDs offer a path forward for Quebec and other provinces, says a new publication from the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

UK - Payments and contracting for integrated care. The false promise of the self-improving health system This hyperlink will open in a new window.
For 30 years, the National Health Service (NHS) has attempted to devise incentive schemes to improve health system performance. Recently, the NHS proposed payment schemes to incentivise integrated care delivery, including population budgets and rewards for performance. This paper casts doubt on their success, arguing there are difficulties in applying incentives developed for accountable care in insurance-based health systems to tax-funded systems with state-owned providers.

USA - The Shared Principles of Primary Care: A Multistakeholder Initiative to Find a Common Voice This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This article summarizes the Patient Centred Medical Home paradigm, developed more than a decade ago. The authors assert that its seven essential principles — primary care that is person-centred, continuous, comprehensive, integrated, team-based, equitable, accessible and high-value — will do the most to help the dynamic and iterative process of consensus-building currently underway among stakeholders in the US.

USA - Evaluation of Technology-Enabled Collaborative Learning and Capacity Building Models. Materials for a Report to Congress This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Across the US, healthcare sites have embraced technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity-building (TECL-CB) models that connect rural or remote generalist providers with specialist teams. This report examines the data on American TECL-CB models, which now address a wide range of conditions. Most show positive effects, although patient outcomes remain less documented than provider outcomes.

International - Incentivising competition in public services This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Looking at how policymakers incentivize competition in public services, this study finds that in health care, separating provision from funding is common internationally. The American model of competition between vertically integrated insurers and healthcare providers is an exception. In many systems, internal markets tend to consolidate on both the insurer and provider sides. Research into provider mergers suggests they cause increased prices in hospitals, with limited consumer benefits.