Canada - Unmet Mental Health Care Needs Costing Canadian Economy Billions This hyperlink will open in a new window.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, anxiety and depression cost the Canadian economy almost $50 billion every year because of lost productivity. According to this report, a quarter of Canadians with mental illness are unable to work and workplace programs, supports and benefits are rarely offered.

Europe - WHO Europe launches new action plan for noncommunicable diseases This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In September 2016, the WHO launched a new action plan for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in Europe that outlines actions to reduce the burden of NCDs, improve quality of life, and make healthy life expectancy more equitable. Along with early detection of NCDs, the plan advocates the use of marketing restrictions to promote healthy eating.

Switzerland - Action is needed to slow the increase in healthcare costs This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Health officials in Switzerland have already taken steps to slow the rise in healthcare costs, including encouraging the use of generic drugs, and they expect to take further action. They aim to strengthen collaboration and are looking at models in Germany and the Netherlands that use management tools to control budgets and the volume of services. A group of experts from these countries will support Swiss health officials. A proposal for next steps will be developed in the next year.

UK - New plans to expand the use of digital technology across the NHS This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The UK government has announced plans to fast track digital excellence and improve the digital skills of the National Health Service (NHS) workforce. An academy to train NHS staff in digital skills will be established and 12 NHS organizations will be selected to receive £10 million ($17 million Cdn) to deliver innovative digital service.

USA - Cost Savings Possible from Reducing Use of Low-Value Health Services This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The first national study in the US to examine spending on low-value health services has found that usage remains modest but that there is still potential for cost savings. The study looked at services that provide little value to patients because of cost and available alternatives.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Healthy Canada Conference 2017: Access to Affordable Medicines
This event hosted by the Conference Board of Canada will bring together experts and stakeholders from across the country to address issues related to the pricing and coverage of medicines, with the goal of creating a shared vision for affordable access. The event takes place April 26 and 27, 2017, in Toronto.

South Africa - Global Evidence Summit 2017
Cochrane is collaborating with four other organizations dedicated to disseminating evidence to hold this first Global Evidence Summit in Cape Town from September 12 to 16, 2017. The theme ‘Using Evidence. Improving Lives’ will highlight and promote evidence-informed approaches to health policy and development, offering the most cost-effective interventions.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Healthcare Spending Decelerating? Not so Fast! This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the CD Howe Institute, this article objects to the 2015 National Health Expenditures (NHEX) report of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), which showed a sharp deceleration in increases in provincial health budgets. The article says NHEX figures are based on budget estimates and that later revisions based on actual numbers have shown materially larger increases.

Canada - Learning from Kaiser Permanente: Integrated systems and healthcare improvement in Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Written by a UK academic for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, this paper compares two distinctive approaches to health service provision: a US non-profit insurance and managed care system, and two provincial tax-funded, single insurer systems in Ontario and Saskatchewan. The report finds that the US system, Kaiser Permanente, invested heavily in an integrated clinical system that holds many lessons for Canadian systems.

Europe - Evidence on financing and budgeting mechanisms to support intersectoral actions between health, education, social welfare and labour sectors This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Intersectoral collaboration between health and welfare, education or labour sectors can influence the social determinants of health. Funding such collaboration is difficult as these sectors are subject to different regulatory structures. This review examines 51 documents from 12 European countries that describe use of various financial mechanisms to facilitate collaboration for health promotion involving at least two of these sectors.

Italy - Adopting a broader concept of health and well-being in the development of the Trentino health plan (2015–2025): a participatory process This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2015, the Italian province of Trento adopted a 10-year strategic health plan that broadened concepts of health and wellbeing to encompass the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. This study focuses on the process followed in the development of the Trento plan, including government involvement, stakeholder participation and cross-sectoral collaboration, and describes the challenges experienced.

UK - Can pay for performance improve the quality of primary care? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2004, the UK National Health Service (NHS) introduced the world’s largest healthcare related pay-for-performance scheme in primary care: the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Primary care doctors were paid up to 25% more if they met a complex set of clinical and organizational indicators. This article explores what other countries can learn today from the UK’s experience with the QOF.

UK - Associations between Extending Access to Primary Care and Emergency Department Visits: A Difference-In-Differences Analysis This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Extending access to primary care by opening on evenings and weekends is thought to reduce emergency department (ED) visits and pressure on hospital services. Through an analysis of hospital administrative records and data from primary clinics with and without extended access, this study in Manchester found that extended seven-day access was associated with reductions in ED visits.

International - The Organisation of Out-Of-Hours Primary Care in OECD Countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Out-of-hours (OoH) services provide urgent primary care when primary care physician offices are closed. Based on a policy survey covering 27 OECD countries, this working paper reviews existing OoH service models and the challenges of delivering OoH primary care. The paper pays particular attention to policies that improve OoH access and quality.

International - eHealth Advances in Support of People with Complex Care Needs: Case Examples from Canada, Scotland and the US This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Advances in eHealth offer better care and support for people with complex care needs. This article presents case studies from Ontario, Scotland, and the state of Colorado to identify how these jurisdictions are using eHealth to address multi-morbidity. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is presented for each case, and thoughts on eHealth's future in complex care are presented.