Canada - Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario issues recommendations to ensure patients come first This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) has released a report saying upcoming reforms to health services delivery in Ontario won’t succeed unless they include a health human resources (HHR) strategy. The report identifies provincial nursing employment trends that contradict the government’s stated priorities.

Canada - Ambulatory EMR Use Delivers Health System and Patient Benefits This hyperlink will open in a new window.
According to a study by Canada Health Infoway, electronic medical record (EMR) use in ambulatory care is yielding benefits in improved patient safety and clinic efficiency. The study found that 57% of clinics using EMRs report quality improvements and that 1.2 million additional patient visits in 2015 resulted from enhanced efficiency.

Europe - Country-by-country profiles on national health situation relaunched This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The WHO is launching a series of publications providing analyses of health situations in European countries. Written in collaboration with ministries of health, the series will be based on the WHO’s Health 2020 indicators, and will provide insights into national health system performance.

Switzerland - Reducing the number of inefficient and ineffective medical procedures This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Swiss Confederation believes that the healthcare procedures that are neither effective nor efficient account for 20% of healthcare costs. The Federal Council intends to systematically reassess the utility of health technology and medical services, identify inefficient offerings and exclude these from reimbursement in compulsory health insurance.

UK - Mental Health Services Must Get the Funding They Need This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A National Health Service (NHS) report into mental health in the UK has found that new investments are not reaching frontline services. In 2015, only a third of NHS mental health services received the full funding increases they were officially allotted. The report additionally says there is not enough accountability over how funds are spent.

Upcoming Events

Canada - 17th Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Care Conference
This conference, organized by the University of British Columbia, takes place June 17 and 18, 2016, in Kelowna. It is designed for primary healthcare providers, psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as decision-makers and community organizations. Challenges in collaborative mental health care will be discussed and promising models presented. One stream deals specifically with First Nations mental health care.

Canada - Society for Medical Decision Making 38th Annual Meeting
The Society has issued a call for proposals for oral and poster presentations for its annual meeting, to be held October 23 to 26, 2016, in Vancouver. The theme of the meeting is "From uncertainty to action". Presentations are invited on shared decisionmaking, applied health economics, health services and outcomes research, patient preferences and engagement, and developments in methods and theory. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2016.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Economic arguments for shifting health dollars upstream This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Economists have long provided evidence that Canada’s health sector would work better at lower cost if more funds were spent on improvements to Canadians’ living and working conditions. This paper advocates a re-invigoration of this approach and reviews health system spending and arguments for moving dollars upstream, especially in the areas of early child development and food security.  

Canada - Learning from the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative to Improve Wait Times in Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2010, the Saskatchewan government announced an initiative to tackle wait times for surgery. Today, the province’s wait times for elective surgery are among the shortest in Canada. This Fraser Institute study looks at Saskatchewan’s approach and lessons for other provinces. It credits the controversial use of private for-profit clinics to deliver day-surgery procedures as an important ingredient in Saskatchewan’s success.

Canada - Primary Care in Ontario, Canada: New Proposals after 15 Years of Reform This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ontario has led the way in Canada in implementing innovative primary care practice models, but funding constraints have led to increased conflict with physicians. In response, Ontario’s government is now considering more changes to primary care governance. This article discusses preliminary policy proposals suggested by a provincial primary care advisory committee.

Canada - Reducing Surgical Wait Times. The Case for Public Innovation and Provincial Leadership This hyperlink will open in a new window.
British Columbia’s provincial government recently released a policy paper recommending the use of private for-profit facilities to reduce elective surgery wait times. This study provides a review of research on for-profit surgical delivery within public healthcare systems. It presents recommendations that build on best practices from the province of Saskatchewan, along with Scotland, which is recognized as a global leader in public sector wait-time solutions.

Europe - So What? Strategies across Europe to assess quality of care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Prepared by a European Union (EU) Expert Group, this report shares examples of best practices in healthcare quality assessment implemented by EU countries and analyses them to draw general conclusions for policy development. The report presents a list of methodologies developed to support national policy-makers but does not compare quality of care across countries, regions or healthcare providers.

Germany - The Health Care Strengthening Act: The next level of integrated care in Germany This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Although Germany has traditionally followed a decentralized approach to healthcare services, the government has now introduced legislation to foster the integration of healthcare services. This article describes the change in policy and the annual innovation fund of €300 million ($440 million Cdn) that has been established to start up integrated care programs.

UK - Understanding pressures in general practice This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report looks at patient factors, system issues and supply-side constraints to see what lies behind the increasing pressure on general practice. It finds that a lack of nationally available real-time data has made GPs’ workloads largely invisible to NHS policy-makers.

UK - Outpatient services and primary care: scoping review, substudies and international comparisons This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Evidence from this scoping review suggests that substantial parts of care given in UK outpatient clinics could be transferred to primary care. The research supports General Practitioner (GP) visits as an alternative to outpatient follow-up appointments, and a greater role in the care of chronic conditions, and performance of minor surgeries. The findings are in keeping with recent surveys of public sentiment in Britain.

International - Transformational change in healthcare: an examination of four case studies This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Investigating examples of transformational change in the health care sector, this Australian study focuses on case studies from the US, the UK, and Australia that exemplify well communicated strategies, innovative redesign, extensive consultation, efficient performance management and high-quality leadership. Despite differences between the case studies, the overall characteristics of success were found to be similar.