Canada - Antibiotics prescribed more often in Canada than in other OECD countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
According to new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), antibiotics are prescribed more frequently in Canada than in other OECD countries. In 2015, more than 25 million courses of antibiotics were prescribed — almost one prescription for every Canadian aged 20 to 69.

UK - New £15 million programme to help train one million in mental health first aid This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A new program will see up to one million people in southern England trained in basic mental health ‘first aid’ skills. The £15 million ($25 million CAD) program will help people assess their own mental wellbeing and learn to respond effectively to mental illness in others. The program includes a free online learning kit.

Finland - Rehabilitation reform committee published its report This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A parliamentary committee in Finland has submitted its final report on reforming the country’s rehabilitation services, which has been criticized for long wait times. The report contains a total of 55 proposals concerning training, planning, and the reorganization of rehabilitation services into a more decentralized model relying on a mix of public and private regional providers.

Ireland - Minister Harris launches new National Framework to build workforce planning capacity in the health sector This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ireland’s Health Minister has launched a new framework to support the recruitment and retention of health system staff needed to create a sustainable, resilient workforce for the future. An initial 18-month action plan will focus on building health workforce planning capacity and enhancing engagement between the Irish health and education sectors.

International - New OECD data expose deep well-being divisions This hyperlink will open in a new window.
New data on wellbeing released by the OECD shows deep divisions in the 34 OECD countries along fault lines of age, wealth, gender and education. A mere 10% of households in OECD countries own 52% of all wealth on average, while one in three people live without savings.

Upcoming Events

The Netherlands - 12th European Conference on health Economics
The theme of this year’s conference, hosted by Maastricht University, is “Shaping the future: the role of health economics”. The call for abstracts is open, with possibilities for submitting an individual abstract or an organized session consisting of three or four oral presentations. The deadline for session descriptions and abstract submissions is January 22, 2018.

Canada - Cochrane Canada Symposium 2018
The annual symposium takes place this year in Calgary on June 6 and 7, 2018. Participants will learn about the latest tools to produce systematic reviews, along with strategies to promote use of evidence by practitioners, consumers and policymakers. Efforts to improve the impact of evidence on healthcare decision-making will be discussed. 

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report by an Australian government commission assesses market efficiency and government productivity over the past five years, and reviews specific private and government sectors. In health care, the report recommends national and state governments increase funding for primary health networks to improve population health, manage chronic conditions and reduce hospitalizations.

Canada - Periodic preventive health visits: a more appropriate approach to delivering preventive services This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Although the annual physical check-up is a medical tradition, this review by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care says best current evidence suggests adopting periodic health visits geared to individual requirements. Visit intervals should depend on the age, sex and health of the individual. Because of differences in practice settings and resource availability, visit intervals and preventive strategies may vary.

Canada – Survey-based patient experience measurement: from concepts to best practices This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This publication reports on the literature regarding the measurement of patient experience through surveys. Among other things, it presents the key underlying concepts used to measure patient experience as well as the various Québec, Canadian and international initiatives that have attempted to do so. 

Denmark - Hospital centralization and performance in Denmark – ten years on This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2007, Denmark restructured its 13 counties into five regions, creating administrative units large enough to allow the centralization of specialized care in fewer hospitals. This paper analyses the reorganization of the Danish hospital sector after 2007 and discusses the mechanisms behind the changes. Since the reform, hospital productivity has increased by more than 2% per year and costs have been stable.

Sweden - Advanced nurse practitioners in municipal healthcare as a way to meet the growing healthcare needs of the frail elderly: a qualitative interview study with managers, doctors and specialist nurses This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In Sweden, research on nurse practitioners (NPs) is limited. This study explores the views of primary care managers, doctors and nurses on the use of NPs in municipal health care to help meet the needs of the frail elderly. Nurses viewed hiring nurse practitioners positively, while managers and doctors were more cautious about the potential responsibilities of any NP role.

UK - RightCare: wrong answers This hyperlink will open in a new window.
RightCare is a National Health Service (NHS) program that identifies opportunities for savings and quality improvements that boost patient outcomes. This article examines the indicators the program uses and determines that RightCare’s methodologies and results are flawed. The article says the program ignores the variability of comparator outcomes, leading to errors.

UK - Embedding a culture of quality improvement This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This King’s Fund report identifies factors that help organizations launch successful quality improvement (QI) strategies. The report lists five key enablers for embedding QI culture: inclusive leadership, staff support, adequate resources, effective patient engagement, and fidelity to a chosen approach. The report finds that leadership plays a central role in creating the right conditions for quality improvement.

International - Healthy people, healthy planet. The role of health systems in promoting healthier lifestyles and a greener future This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This document was produced by the OECD for the 2017 meeting of the G7 Ministers of Health. It provides an overview of policy actions health authorities can use to improve population health while decreasing pressure on the environment. The report encourages waste reduction, healthier food consumption, and cleaner energy generation in hospitals and nursing homes. 

International - The effectiveness of research implementation strategies for promoting evidence-informed policy and management decisions in healthcare: a systematic review This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Conducted by Malaysian researchers, this systematic review of 21 articles evaluates the effectiveness of research implementation strategies for promoting evidence-informed policy and management decisions in health care. It finds that workshops, ongoing technical assistance, and distribution of instructional digital materials may improve knowledge and skills around evidence-informed decision-making. The authors conceptualize interrelated factors associated with effective strategies to implement research findings.