Headlines

Australia - The Minister for Health has announced an independent review of after-hours primary health care services in Australia This hyperlink will open in a new window.
On August 19, 2014, the Minister announced that Dr. Claire Jackson would lead a review of after-hours primary healthcare services. She will provide recommendations to government by October 14, 2014, on appropriate and effective delivery mechanisms to support ongoing after-hours service provision nationally.

Canada - Health Quality Council launches first Saskatchewan Change Day This hyperlink will open in a new window.
People working in Saskatchewan’s healthcare system, and those who access care, are being encouraged to pledge to do one small thing to improve the lives of patients, family members and healthcare workers as part of a new campaign called Saskatchewan Change Day. The day will be held on November 6, 2014. The belief that underlies the initiative is that small actions, when combined together, can make a big difference.

Canada - Canada Needs a National Pharmacare Program This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A Roadmap to a Rational Pharmacare Policy, published by the Canadian Federation of Nurses' Unions, calls for governments, insurers, policy makers, and pharmaceutical companies to recognize that the present hybrid system to fund prescription drug purchases is unfair, inequitable and wastes money. The Roadmap states that universal pharmacare program will help build the institutional capacity to improve access, diminish costs, improve practices and ensure the continued sustainability of the healthcare system.

USA - Small Primary Care Physician Practices Have Low Rates of Preventable Hospital Admissions This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This Commonwealth Fund study examines the relationship between quality of care and practice size. It finds that practices with one or two physicians had 33 percent fewer preventable hospital admissions than practices with 10 to 19 physicians, and practices with three to nine physicians had 27 percent fewer admissions. As well, practices owned by physicians had significantly lower ambulatory care–sensitive admission rates than those owned by hospitals.

International - WHO issues roadmap to scale up international response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published on August 28, 2014, this WHO roadmap will serve as a framework for updating detailed operational plans. It maps hotspots, presents epidemiological data showing how the outbreak is evolving over time, and communicates what is known about the location of treatment facilities and laboratories, It covers the health dimensions of the international response.

Upcoming Events

Australia - Workforce Efficiency in Healthcare 2014
This conference, taking place in Sydney from November 24 to 26, 2014, will examine strategies to ensure the healthcare workforce can respond to current and future demands. Among the presentation themes are workforce redesign, rural and regional shortages, interprofessional learning, nursing leadership and telehealth.

Canada - Home care summit 2014
The Canadian Home Care Association is holding its conference from November 3 to 5, 2014, in Banff. Presentations on this year's program will provide insights and practical applications in client and family-centred care, program integration and sustainability and related themes.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - What core primary health care services should be available to Australians living in rural and remote communities? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
BMC Family Practice published this study on essential health services. The authors conducted a literature review and consulted with relevant experts to reach consensus on an evidence-based list of core primary healthcare services to which all Australians should have access. The highest level of consensus (96.8%) was achieved for care of the sick and injured, maternal and child health and public health/illness prevention.

Sweden - Tackling health inequities: from concepts to practice. The experience of Västa Götaland This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This WHO report describes the process that Sweden's Västra Götaland region followed to make health equity an integral part of its regional health plan. The report gives an account of the factors that made a regional action plan possible along with the obstacles encountered and the measures adopted to overcome them.

UK - Assessing the social and community risks of council spending cuts in Scotland This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation commissioned this paper as part of its program on austerity in the UK. It explores how councils in Scotland can adequately consider social and community risks when making cuts to services. It further looks at opportunities to improve risk assessment.

USA - Hospital Guide to Reducing Medicaid Readmissions This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality commissioned this guide to identify ways evidence-based strategies to reduce readmissions can be adapted or expanded to better address the transitional care needs of the adult Medicaid population. It presents a roadmap of tools and discusses their use.

International - Comparing Hospital and Health Prices and Volumes Internationally : Results of a Eurostat/OECD Project This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This OECD Health Working Paper presents the results of a joint effort between the OECD and Eurostat in developing price comparisons for health goods and services. The main novel feature is the collection of comparable and output-based prices for hospital services. Health and hospital-specific price comparisons turn out to be quite different from the comparisons based on the input method and consequently lead to different conclusions about the volume of health services consumed per person. The new methodology became an integral part of the Eurostat/OECD Purchasing Power Parity comparison at the end of 2013.

International - Health, austerity and economic crisis: assessing the short-term impact in OECD countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This paper looks at the impact of economic crisis on health and health care. It summarises findings from the published literature on the effects of economic crisis that took place over the past few decades and also describes recent health policy reforms, focusing on those countries where the economic crisis has hit hardest. Finally, this paper analyses the empirical relationship between unemployment and health care use, quality and health outcomes, using data from OECD Health Statistics. In doing so, it investigates whether the effects of unemployment on health outcomes have been extenuated by austerity measures.

International - Advancing the application of systems thinking in health This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This series published by Health Research Policy and Systems aims to support the shift from abstract concepts to actual applications and experiences of systems thinking in health. It was coordinated by the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research and focuses on low- and middle-income countries.

International - Self-management support interventions to reduce health care utilisation without compromising outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis This hyperlink will open in a new window.
There is increasing interest in the role of self-management interventions to improve the management of long-term conditions in health service settings. This meta-analysis published in Biomed Central reviewed the literature on self-management support models to identify models that achieved the desired effect of reducing health resource utilization without leading to negative outcomes. Evidence on successful models was strongest in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

International - Guidance on priority setting in health care (GPS-Health): the inclusion of equity criteria not captured by cost-effectiveness analysis This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published in the journal Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, this guidance, initiated by the WHO, offers a comprehensive map of equity criteria that are relevant to healthcare priority setting and should be considered in addition to cost-effectiveness analysis. It is especially targeted at decision makers who set priorities at national and sub-national levels.