Canada - Canadians continue to report longer wait times for care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A new international survey shows that Canadians continue to report some of the longest wait times for doctors, specialists and emergency department visits compared with citizens in peer countries. However, once they do get medical care, Canadians generally report experiences with their regular providers that are better than the international average. These and more insights come from How Canada Compares: Results From The Commonwealth Fund’s 2016 International Health Policy Survey of Adults in 11 Countries, released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Canada - $140 million to improve access, target key mental-health initiatives This hyperlink will open in a new window.
British Columbia has launched a new Web-based system to help people find services and support for mental health and substance use problems. The province's 2017 budget includes new investments to improve prevention, early intervention, treatment and better access to services. The digital hub brings together more than 6000 services from over 450 providers throughout the province. BC health authorities are introducing specialized mental health community care programs to facilitate access and coordinate services.

USA - Cardiovascular disease costs will exceed $1 trillion by 2035 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In this report, released on Valentine's Day, the American Heart Association predicts that 45% of the total US population will have cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 2035. The Association calls for action on prevention and maintaining health coverage by protecting the ban on pre-existing conditions. In 2015, 100 million Americans were suffering from CVD, imposing high direct and indirect costs in terms of treatment and lost productivity.

International - Number of people with depression increases This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This WHO fact sheet identified depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide and decries the fact that fewer than half of those affected receive treatments known to be effective. Barriers to care include a lack of resources, lack of trained health-care providers, and social stigma associated with mental disorders.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Cochrane Canada Symposium 2017
This year's symposium, entitled Evidence and Impact, takes place May 11 and 12, 2017, in Hamilton. It is an opportunity to learn about the latest tools to produce high-quality, relevant systematic reviews, along with strategies to ensure evidence can be used by people making healthcare decisions, including consumers, practitioners, researchers and policy makers.

Canada - Social Intervention and Reshaped Solidarities
The 7th international congress for l’Association internationale pour la formation, la recherche et l’intervention sociale (AIFRIS) will be held in Montreal from July 4th to July 7th 2017. This event held at the UQAM will count more than 400 attendees from some twenty countries around the theme of Solidarities in questions and in actions: what reconfigurations? Multiple subjects of public interest will be discussed such as the situations of Aboriginal peoples, the practice of getting homeless people off the streets, the transformations of institutional practices and public actions, the practices surrounding environmental issues, the practices surrounding the issues of mental health, the role of community action, the education of solidarity-based practices, the role of new philanthropy in the reshaping of solidarities, etc.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Accepting our responsibility. A blueprint for physician leadership in transforming Canada’s health care system This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This white paper from the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders recognizes the central role physician play in health system improvement and calls on governments, administrators and physicians themselves to formally recognize the role of physicians as leaders. The paper includes recommended actions for each of these groups and is intended to stimulate discussion at all levels on ways to generate greater physician leadership in healthcare reform.

Canada - The Rural Road Map for Action: Directions This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Canadian Collaborative Taskforce was formed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada in 2014, with the aim of producing and sustaining an increased number of family physicians practising comprehensive rural generalist medicine. This Roadmap for Action recommends 20 actions in four directions: increasing the social accountability of medical schools to address the needs of rural and Indigenous communities; policy interventions that align medical education with workforce planning; practice models that ensure timely access to quality care; and a rural research agenda.

Canada - International Comparisons at CIHI This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) presents various measures of how health care in Canada compares to that in other countries, and discusses CIHI's contribution to international data and knowledge production. The report highlights some key comparisons in clear graphic form: Canada spends 10% of its GDP on health, compared to the OECD average of 9%; Canada is above average in reducing premature mortality, especially among men; Canada is in the middle of the pack on combined measures of health status, determinants of health, quality of care, patient safety and access to care.

Canada - The At Home/ Chez Soi Project: Sustainability of Housing & Support Programs Implemented at the Montreal Site This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, this study tells the sustainability story of the Housing First (HF) services that were established during the At Home/Chez Soi (AHCS) project in Montreal, after its official closure in March 2013. The research program was designed to measure the effects and benefits of HF on adults experiencing homelessness and a severe mental illness. In Montreal, 469 people participated. The study, based on interviews with a wide range of system actors, identifies factors that influenced the sustainability of the HF program.

UK - Saving STPs: achieving meaningful health and social care reform This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report, from the think tank Reform, looks at the progress of sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) in England. They have been developed in 44 jurisdictions to break down barriers between different levels of health and social service on a local basis. Interviews with experts across the system reveal some progress, especially in places that already had integration efforts in place, and raise issues that contribute to difficulties.

UK - Use of Agency Workers in the Public Sector This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research presents its recent research into the extent of use of agency staff in health and education sectors. The analysis looks not only at why public service employers use agency staff, but also at characteristics of agency workers, their motivations and experience. It notes trends toward increased use of agency staff and longer placements, along with concerns over the high costs and decreased continuity of service provision associated with use of agency staff.

UK - Improving Patient Access to Care: Performance Incentives and Competition in Healthcare Markets This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This working paper published by the Cambridge Judge Business School looks at performance-based compensation used to induce competition on quality and efficiency among healthcare providers contracted by government. The authors show that the joint effect of incentives and competition depends on two factors: 1) the aggressiveness of patient access targets that the payer imposes on providers, and 2) patient sensitivity to the level of access to care.

USA - A Framework for Safe, Reliable, and Effective Care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This white paper from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement describes the framework's two foundational domains: culture and the learning system. The paper defines key strategies for developing leadership, psychological safety, accountability, teamwork and communication, negotiation, transparency, reliability, improvement and measurement, and continuous learning. It further discusses the engagement of patients and families as the engine that drives progress toward safe and effective care.

International - Cyclical VS Structural Effects on Health Care Expenditure Trends in OECD Countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This paper explores common trends in the growth rate of health care expenditure since 1996 in a set of 22 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Authors conclude that structural changes in publicly financed health care have constrained the growth of care volumes (especially) and prices leading to a marked reduction in health care expenditure growth rates, beyond what could be expected based on cyclical economic fluctuations.