Australia - New Primary Health Networks to deliver better local care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Australia’s local frontline health services are being reorganized into new Primary Health Networks (PHNs) that begin operations on July 1, 2015. Administered by subcontracted provider organizations, the 31 PHNs will replace the existing Medicare Local system of 61 regions and work with Australian state Local Hospital Networks (LHNs) to ensure better outcomes and service integration.

Canada - Health Quality Ontario Publishes New Report on Cross-Sectoral Quality Improvement This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) is a formal commitment to quality improvement, aligned with system and provincial priorities. This most recent analysis of the QIPs submitted by Ontario’s healthcare organizations explores how organizations across the province are partnering with their peers in other sectors in order to deliver more collaborative care for their patients and ensure appropriate transitions between care providers.

China - Reform and Innovation for Better Rural Health Services in China This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Launched in 2008 in eight provinces, China’s Rural Health Project focuses on the rural health insurance system and on improving rural health delivery, public hospitals, and core public health services. This article published by the World Bank describes lessons to be learned from China's success in ensuring affordable, equal access to high quality rural health services.

USA - Lessons Project Report Showcases Promising Pathways to Make Research More Accessible and Actionable This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Promoting research synthesis, translation and dissemination, this report from a 2014 workshop identifies useful innovations and strategies from disciplines relevant to health services research communication. The report highlights the importance of relationships between researchers and policymakers for improving the uptake of research findings.

USA - AHRQ Report Shows Disparities Persist, Despite Improvements in Quality and Access This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Released in April 2015, this report by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides a snapshot of healthcare disparities across the US. While insurance coverage for Black and Hispanic Americans has grown, disparities persist and are worsening for households below the poverty line.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Health care quality and patient safety: Sharing international experience
The 3rd International Symposium will be held June 2, 2015 at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal. Jointly organized by the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations (CIRANO), the RISQ+H Network, the Alliance francophone pour la qualité et la sécurité des soins (AFQUARIS) and the Secrétariat International des infirmières et infirmiers de l'espace francophone (SIDIIEF), the symposium is an opportunity to share innovations in health care quality improvement. The conference includes plenary sessions, concurrent sessions and poster presentations. Speakers from Quebec and other francophone countries including Switzerland, Belgium, Morocco, Congo, Cameroon, Algeria, Tunisia, Mali, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, France, and Madagascar, will participate. This event is part of the programming of the SIDIIEF World Congress that takes place May 31 to June 5, 2015.

Italy - 2nd Economics of the Health Workforce Conference
The Health Economics Research Unit of the University of Aberdeen is co-hosting this conference with the Universita Cattolica in Milan, on July 11 and 12, 2015. The focus will be on micro-econometric studies of health workforce supply and demand. Topics include wage setting, competition in health labour markets, career transitions, international migration, and more.

The Netherlands - Evidence-Based Management: better decision, better healthcare
The annual EHMA conference is an opportunity for participants to share knowledge derived from academic work and practical experience and explore fundamental managerial and policy issues in health care. The conference takes place in Breda, The Netherlands, from June 15 to 17, 2015.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - Efficiency in Health This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Issued by Australia’s Productivity Commission, this paper identifies ways to improve the operation of Australia’s healthcare system through small-scale reforms that leave institutional structures alone. The authors find deficiencies in health technology assessment, clinical guideline implementation, provider financial incentives and funding for preventive care. They state that health workforce scopes of practice are limited by current regulations.

Austria - Out-of-pocket payments in the Austrian healthcare system – a distributional analysis This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Out-of-pocket payments (OOPP) remain common in countries with established prepaid healthcare financing. This study analyzes the distributive effects of OOPP in Austria based on information from the 2009 Austrian Household Budget Survey. Findings indicate that OOPP in Austria has negative, regressive effects on income distribution, especially when it comes to prescription fees and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

Canada - Expanding the Scope of Practice for Pharmacists in Ontario This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2009, legislation enlarged Ontario pharmacists’ scope of practice to allow them to administer vaccinations, alter and renew prescriptions, and prescribe a small number of drugs. This paper argues that the reforms have increased vaccinations but failed to shift physicians’ burden of care for minor illnesses. It finds no evidence of improved health system efficiency.

The Netherlands - Dutch Health Care Performance Report 2014 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The 2014 edition of this annual report on Dutch health care gives high overall marks for access and quality. However, variations in elder and nursing home care due to insufficient staffing are evident. The Netherlands continues to be Europe’s fourth highest spender on health care, largely because of long-term care costs.

UK - Head, hands and heart: asset-based approaches in health care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Asset-based healthcare approaches emphasize health and wellbeing self-management, community support, and health promotion and prevention. This report summarizes the theory and evidence behind asset-based approaches with the aid of six British case studies. Key principles for developing health assets are explored, as is the impact of asset projects on UK health outcomes.

UK - The contracting NHS: can the NHS handle the outsourcing of clinical services? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The UK National Health Service (NHS) contracts out the provision of many health services to private providers. Most recently, clinical services have been put out to tender, a decision blasted by this report, which says the NHS is poorly equipped to ensure that competitively outsourced core services meet standards, stay accountable, and deliver value for money.

International - Payment and economic evaluation of integrated care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Austria, France, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany have all experimented with models of integrated care, implementing disease management programs (DMPs) supported by payment schemes with financial incentives. This paper assesses these payment schemes and explores the cost variability, economies of scale and scope of different DMPs. Larger DMPs are found to do better.

International - Innovations in Health Care System Reform in OECD Countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Innovation Journal published this special issue on innovations in healthcare system reform within the 34 countries of the OECD. The special issue features articles on innovative healthcare reform in Canada, Greece, Finland, the UK and Germany, along with an essay on new policy directions in Saskatchewan.