Europe - Policies to limit marketing of unhealthy foods to children fall short of protecting their health and rights This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A report from the WHO finds that European policies to limit the marketing of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) foods to children are not working, partly because of the proliferation of media promotional platforms. Around half of Europe’s 53 countries limit marketing of HFSS foods to children.

UK - Matt Hancock launches tech vision to build the most advanced health and care system in the world This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The UK Ministry of Health and Social Care has released plans for a new generation of digital services to meet the multifaceted needs of the National Health Service (NHS). Minimum technical standards for digital and information technology systems will be introduced, with an emphasis on compatibility across data platforms, infrastructure and application program interfaces.

USA - Stakeholders Identify Actions for Providers, Patients & Research Community to Advance Patient-Centered Care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report summarizes the ideas to advance patient-centred care generated by 70 patients and patient advocates, researchers, clinicians, healthcare system leaders and other stakeholders convened by the AcademyHealth think tank in May 2018. Participants focused on community engagement, caregiver training, improving workforce diversity and transparency, and investing in patient-centred implementation research.

USA - Electronic medical records show promise in reducing unnecessary testing This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A study at Boston Medical Center was successful in reducing unnecessary diagnostic testing through use of an electronic medical record (EMR)-based intervention. The researchers designed new EMR recommendations that alert providers to best practice information in order to prevent the overutilization of chest x-rays, routine daily labs, red blood cell transfusions and urinary catheters. 

Upcoming Events

UK - Improving Patient Safety & Care 2019
The Royal Society of Medicine is presenting this conference on February 6, 2019, in London, UK. Focused on continuous learning, measurement and improvement, the conference will present visions and pathways to improve safety, explore the use of evidence-based guidelines and examine specific safety issues, such as urinary tract infection management, central venous catheters and sepsis.

USA - Rural Health Policy Institute
Organized by the National Rural Health Association and hosted by the Rural Health Policy Institute, this conference will be held in Washington, DC, from February 5 to 7, 2019. Participants will hear from members of the Trump Administration and members of Congress on their plans to make health care work in rural America.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Austria - Austria Health system review, 2018 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, this snapshot of Austria’s health system in 2018 highlights recent reforms to improve governance, increase healthy life expectancy, and improve quality and efficiency of service delivery. Overall, Austria has one of the most effective health systems in Europe, with coverage, access, patient satisfaction and mortality rates significantly better than the European Union average.

Canada - Aligning Outcomes and Spending. Canadian Experiences with Value-Based Healthcare This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Value-based healthcare (VBHC) is a delivery model in which provider financing and budgets are based on patient health outcomes instead of the volume of services, processes, and products. This briefing reviews surveys, case studies and the scientific literature to explore the application of VBHC in health care across Canada. It focuses on the use of VBHC in new care models, innovative digital technology, and care integration.

Canada - Scan of Mental Health Strategies This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This document provides an overview of mental health and wellness strategies in Canada, with a particular emphasis on the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental illness. The scan is presented in the form of three comparative tables: provincial and territorial mental health strategies; suicide prevention strategies; and Indigenous-specific mental health and wellness strategies.

China - The Luohu Model: A Template for Integrated Urban Healthcare Systems in China This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2015, the southern city of Luohu introduced a new integrated care system that linked five hospitals with 23 community clinics and specialized medical institutions. China’s government has since encouraged other cities to emulate the highly successful Luohu model. This paper studies Luoho’s integration process, analyzes its core mechanisms, and evaluates the integration of policy development.

Europe - Will population ageing spell the end of the welfare state? A review of evidence and policy options This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Released by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, this briefing reviews evidence on health and long-term care costs associated with aging populations to better understand escalating cost pressures due to changing demographics. It focuses on selected policy areas that either support the health and activity of older people or reinforce sustainable care systems more broadly in the context of population aging.

Europe - Embedding a cultural contexts of health approach across the WHO European Region This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2015, the WHO acknowledged the significant role of cultural contexts (including value systems, traditions and beliefs) in shaping health outcomes, and implemented a Cultural Context of Health (CCH) project in Europe to study the issue. Supported by an expert group, the WHO is now clarifying CCH concepts. This report summarizes the fourth meeting of the CCH expert group held in April 2018.

Europe - Evidence synthesis for health policy and systems: a methods guide This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This guide to methods for synthesizing evidence from health policy and systems research examines quantitative, qualitative and mixed method synthesis strategies. It also provides practical guidance for engaging decision-makers in evidence synthesis and fostering the uptake of findings in policy and practice. Suggestions are included for framing a synthesis question, assessing context-sensitive evidence, understanding complexity, addressing health equity, and selecting appropriate synthesis approaches.

Norway - How does the type of remuneration affect physician behaviour? Fixed salary versus fee-for-service This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Using register data from 2009 to 2013, this paper analyzes the effects of two types of physician remuneration, fee-for-service and fixed salary, on the treatment decisions of general practitioners. It finds that fee-for-service leads to an increase in consultations and a higher provision of medical services per consultation. Overall, the analysis suggests that fixed-salary remuneration leads to the under-provision of primary care.