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Bulletin

The OISSS electronic monitoring bulletin is disseminated free of charge to subscribers every two weeks in French and English. The Bulletin monitors current news, upcoming events, and publications related to reforms of healthcare systems around the world, in particular in OECD countries and countries of the Americas.

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Headlines

Canada - Total health spending in Canada reaches $242 billion

New figures released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) show that the country’s health spending is forecast to grow by almost 4% in 2017, to $242 billion. This is a slight increase in the rate of health spending growth — since 2010, the average annual increase has been 3.2%. National Health Expenditure Trends, 1975 to 2017 finds that health costs are expected to represent 11.5% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, similar to last year.

Canada - Canadian healthcare system must brace for a technological revolution

This report on integrating robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing technologies into health care expects these technologies to bring great benefits to patients, physicians, and the healthcare workforce. Prepared by the Senate committee on social affairs, science and technology, it cautions that everyone working in the healthcare sector must prepare for inevitable and radical change.

Ireland - Minister Catherine Byrne launches third annual Healthy Ireland Survey

Ireland’s Minister of State for Health Promotion has released the third annual Healthy Ireland Survey. The 2017 Survey of 7,500 people aged 15 and over gives an up-to-date picture of the health of the nation and reports on many lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and sexual health.

UK - Patients to get breakthrough technologies and treatments up to 4 years earlier through new accelerated access scheme

The British government has announced that the National Health Service (NHS) will fast-track breakthrough medicines and technologies, speeding up the time it takes for patients to benefit from ground-breaking products for cancer, dementia and diabetes. From April 2018, the new accelerated access scheme will make some products available up to four years sooner.

International - OECD Reviews of Public Health

Reporting on the public health systems of the 34 countries in the OECD, these Reviews of Public Health provide analysis and policy recommendations that highlight best practices and innovation. Topics include obesity, harmful alcohol use, health checks, preventive screening, public health emergencies, and more.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Public Health 2018

The conference of the Canadian Public Health Association takes place May 28 to 31, 2018, in Montreal. A call for submissions has been launched for oral and poster presentations, symposiums and workshops that facilitate the exchange and dissemination of innovative public health research, policies and practices. The deadline for submissions is December 5, 2017.

Canada - Strengthening the Evidence-to-Action Connection

Health Technology Assessment International is holding its next conference in Vancouver, from June 1 to 5, 2018. Among the questions to be considered at the conference are how to generate, synthesize and present evidence to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. Lessons from other disciplines will be explored. The deadline to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations is November 24, 2017.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Value of Physician Assistants: Recommandations for Action

Published by the Conference Board of Canada, this briefing is the last in a series of four reports on physician assistants (PAs) in Canadian healthcare settings. It provides five policy recommendations for optimizing PA roles, including developing appropriate funding models; addressing regulation and data tracking challenges; expanding supply and training; and enhancing evidence and understanding of the importance of PAs.

Canada - Canada’s Aging Population and Implications for Government Finances

Canada’s aging population will put significant stress on government spending programs, which will result in large deficits and mounting debt in the future, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute. The study finds that from 2010 to 2063, the share of the Canadian population over the age of 65 will increase from just under 15 per cent to more than 25 per cent, which will necessitate increased government spending.

Europe - Evidence on mechanisms and tools for use of health information for decision-making

Published by WHO Europe, this report describes tools and mechanisms to increase the use of health information in policy development. It describes synthesis methods, information packaging, and tools for using surveillance data and modelling. The dissemination and communication tools discussed include health information-sharing platforms and social media.  

Europe - A resource for developing an evidence synthesis report for policy-making

This 50th edition of the Health Evidence Network (HEN) Synthesis Reports summarizes the best available global findings on public health questions from peer-reviewed and grey literature, and proposes general directions, strategies and actions for consideration. The resource has been developed to outline key approaches, methods and considerations supporting the systematic use of the best available evidence for public health policymaking.

Italy - From measuring the past to strategically framing challenges in the healthcare sector. The role of balance scorecard

The balanced scorecard (BSC) is a planning and management system used by organizations to prioritize projects and services, measure progress toward targets, and align daily work with strategy. This paper investigates potential roles for the balanced scorecard in health care and evaluates how its multidimensional framework might effectively link strategy and performance management in the sector’s fast-paced work environment. The paper includes a case study.

Japan - Nurse managers’ attributes to promote change in their wards: a qualitative study

Analyzing how nurse managers promote change on their wards, this study of 23 nurse managers concludes that the process of change is made up of multiple context-specific phases. It identifies four factors that influence the ability to effect change: confidence in one’s beliefs with respect to external standards; an ability to balance micro and macro perspectives; being proactive; and empathy for staff.

UK - Innovation as a driver of quality and productivity in UK healthcare

The National Health Service (NHS) commissioned this study exploring whether innovative products, technologies, and services drive healthcare quality and productivity. It concludes that successful innovation in the NHS happens when drivers come together at national and local levels. These drivers span: skills, capabilities and leadership for innovation; motivation and accountability; information and evidence; patient and public engagement efforts; and the funding of innovation. 

UK - Lifting the Cap. The Fiscal and Economic Impact of Lifting the NHS Pay Cap

National Health Service (NHS) workers have endured a seven-year pay cap that has precipitated a staffing crisis. This report assesses the impacts of raising NHS pay, either in line with consumer price index (CPI) inflation, or with private sector earnings. The authors find that both pay raise scenarios would reduce workforce shortfalls in the NHS and boost the overall UK economy.

UK - Towards an effective NHS payment system: eight principles

Following consultation with National Health Service (NHS) providers, this report identifies eight guiding principles that a payment system should meet to support high quality care. The eight principles are: clear purpose; realistic expectations; national consistency with local flexibility; appropriate aligned incentives; high quality data; balance of design complexity and ease of use; independent oversight; and time to embed and evaluate systems.

International - Health at a Glance 2017. OECD Indicators

This new edition of Health at a Glance presents the most recent comparable data on the health status of populations and health system performance in OECD countries. Where possible, it also reports data for partner countries (Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, Russian Federation and South Africa). This edition contains a range of new indicators, particularly on risk factors for health. It also places greater emphasis on time trend analysis.