Australia - Growth in health spending at 5 year high, driven by government spending This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) finds that Australia’s health spending was at a five-year high in 2017, when it grew by 4.7% compared to an average 3.1% for each previous year since 2012. Australia’s federal and state governments were the main driver of growth, increasing health spending by 6.8%.

Canada - One in four Canadian physicians report burnout This hyperlink will open in a new window.
According to a Canadian Medical Association (CMA) survey, one in four Canadian physicians report feelings of burnout, while one in three screen positive for depression. Medical residents were 95% more likely to suffer depression than other doctors, while female physician rates of burnout were 23% higher. Nearly 60% of respondents reported good overall mental health.

Canada - Variances Across Canada In The Final Retail Price Paid For Prescription Drugs This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Conference Board of Canada has released a report on the varying cost of prescription drugs across Canada, which it says are mainly attributable to fees and pharmacy mark-ups, the dollar amount added to the ingredient cost of a prescription medication. Variations in mark-ups are attributed to such factors as location, drug coverage, and demand.

International - Heads of State commit to lead response to beat noncommunicable diseases, promote mental health This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Heads of state attending the September 2018 United Nations General Assembly Meeting have agreed to take new steps to tackle noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and promote mental health. The leaders committed to implement WHO policies concerning NCDs and called on food manufacturers to do more to ensure dietary health and help address root causes of NCDs.

Upcoming Events

Canada - 2019 Artificial Intelligence and Learning Health Systems
On January 14 and 15, 2019, The Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research is holding this conference to explore ways to integrate artificial intelligence into health systems in a way that maintains humane care and respects public concerns. The meeting takes place in Toronto and registration is now open.

Switzerland - New Heights in Health Economics This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This conference, organized by the International Health Economics Association, takes place in Basel, Switzerland, from July 13 to 17, 2019. It features plenary talks by Raj Chetty from Harvard University on insights from Big Data around economic opportunity and health inequality, and from Janet Currie from Princeton on child health and human capital.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Balancing Effectiveness and Efficiency: Driving Value-Based Health Care through Clinician Engagement This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report by the Conference Board of Canada describes some of the foundational components of clinician engagement with the intention of helping stakeholders improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their organizations’ clinician engagement processes. The report is based on a literature review and interviews with 21 Canadian and international stakeholders to explore contexts and roles that encourage clinician engagement.

Canada - Pharmacare in Canada: Financial Implications of Alternative Models for Public and Private Payers This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Based on the assumption the federal government will introduce a national pharmacare plan in 2020, this briefing models three potential pharmacare scenarios: a first-payer public plan and scenarios based on existing provincial pharmacare programs in Québec and British Columbia. It then estimates resulting changes to drug reimbursement. In all three models, the burden of drug costs shifts to public payers over time.

Europe - Organization and financing of public health services in Europe This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the WHO, this book examines the financing and organization of public health services across Europe. Looking at nine European countries, it contains an in-depth analysis of the budgets, funding, and cost-effectiveness of public health services, which are often organized differently at national, regional and local levels. Case studies of campaigns responding to alcohol abuse, obesity and antimicrobial resistance are included.

The Netherlands - Horizon scan of medical technologies. Technologies with an expected impact on the organisation and expenditure of healthcare This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Focusing on expected demand for health care, Dutch researchers conducted a ‘horizon scan’ to identify emerging medical technologies that will best meet future medical and societal needs. The study considers impacts on the organization of health care, and on benefits and costs, of such innovative technologies as multi-device eHealth, personalized nanotechnology, robotic elder care support and the 3D printing of surgical implants.

UK - Approaches to better value: improving quality and cost This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Exploring quality and cost improvement programs at three public hospitals in England, this report analyzes each hospital’s approach to value and the barriers and enablers that affect the implementation of a value improvement strategy. Based on interviews with senior clinical and managerial leaders, the report says more work is needed to develop measures and indicators showing value improvement strategies are on track and effective.

UK - Does Leadership Matter for Healthcare Service Quality? Evidence from NHS England This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Analyzing four years of English hospital data (2010-2014), this paper argues that leadership quality matters for the quality of healthcare provision. It breaks down individual leadership styles into four categories (oriented toward task, relationships, change or integrity) and compares them to different quality metrics and clinical performance indicators. The paper concludes that a task-oriented leadership style has the strongest relationship with staff-rated hospital quality.

UK - Making the most of the money: efficiency and the long-term plan This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Despite recent funding increases, the National Health Service (NHS) is struggling on most major financial and performance indicators. This document sets out the views of 157 NHS provider organizations (hospitals and locally-organized patient services) on how best to achieve efficiency and improve quality across the NHS. Focusing on productivity and cost reduction, the document presents models for efficiently restructuring existing primary care systems.

International - Effectiveness of strategies to improve health-care provider practices in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Inadequate healthcare provider performance is a major challenge in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). This systematic review of 37 studies catalogues 118 strategies to improve LMIC provider performance in order to establish a comprehensive Health Care Provider Performance Review (HCPPR) for future utilization. Thus far, contextual and methodological heterogeneity, as well as low quality evidence, make study and strategy comparisons difficult.

International - Designing Publicly Funded Healthcare Markets This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This paper argues that there is a need for competition agencies to become more active and effective advocates for the use of choice and competition in healthcare markets. The authors of the paper examine a range of case studies and explore who chooses, who pays, how payments are structured, and the nature of the supply side of the market.