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watch on health economics

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Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use: Economics and Public Health Policy.

Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Economiques. (O.C.D.E.). Paris. FRA

Paris : OCDE, 2015/05

Alcoholic beverages, and their harmful use, have been familiar fixtures in human societies since the beginning of recorded history. Worldwide, alcohol is a leading cause of ill health and premature mortality. It accounts for 1 in 17 deaths, and for a significant proportion of disabilities, especially in men. In OECD countries, alcohol consumption is about twice the world average. Its social costs are estimated in excess of 1% of GDP in high- and middle-income countries. When it is not the result of addiction, alcohol use is an individual choice, driven by social norms, with strong cultural connotations. This is reflected in unique patterns of social disparity in drinking, showing the well-todo in some cases more prone to hazardous use of alcohol, and a polarisation of problem-drinking at the two ends of the social spectrum. Certain patterns of drinking have social impacts, which provide a strong economic rationale for governments to influence the use of alcohol through policies aimed at curbing harms, including those occurring to people other than drinkers. Some policy approaches are more effective and efficient than others, depending on their ability to trigger changes in social norms, and on how well they can target the groups that are most at risk. This book provides a detailed examination of trends and social disparities in alcohol consumption. It offers a wideranging assessment of the health, social and economic impacts of key policy options for tackling alcohol-related harms in three OECD countries (Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany), extracting relevant policy messages for a broader set of countries.

Bridging the worlds of research and policy in European health systems.

Organisation Mondiale de la Santé. (O.M.S.). Genève. CHE,European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. Brussels. BEL,Observatoire Européen des Systèmes et des Politiques de Santé. Bruxelles. BEL

Copenhague : OMS Bureau régional de l'Europe, 2015

Policy makers need to access up-to-date and high-quality health system information. Stakeholders may try to influence health policy as well as make decisions within their own area of work. Both groups want easily obtainable and clear evidence based on systematic and transparent research methods. Knowledge brokers (including researchers) want to know how to best communicate to decision-makers and need information about policy priorities in order to inform policy processes and share health system information effectively. The purpose of this book is to spark innovation in knowledge brokering and to encourage debate on how information is prepared and how it will be understood and used. Part I looks at knowledge brokering from different vantage points and part II describes knowledge brokering in action. It is hoped that this book will give health system policy-makers, stakeholders and researchers a clear understanding of knowledge brokering and its implications for the organization and management of health information systems. This book results from a study on knowledgebrokering practices in Europe that was undertaken between 2009 and 2011, called BRIDGE (Scoping study of approaches to Brokering knowledge and Research Information to support the Development and Governance of health systems in Europe).

Economic cost of the health impact of air pollution in Europe: Clean air, health and wealth.

Copenhague : Office des Publications du Bureau Régional de l'Europe, 2015

This paper extends the analyses of the most recent WHO, European Union and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development research on the cost of ambient and household air pollution to cover all 53 Member States of the WHO European Region. It describes and discusses the topic of air pollution from a Health in All Policies perspective, reflecting the best available evidence from a health, economics and policy angle and identifies future research areas and policy options.

Social capital as a health resource in later life: the relevance of context.

Nyqvist T. / éd., Forsman A.K. / éd.
Dordrecht : Springer Verlag, 2015

This book examines the social aspects of healthy ageing for older individuals. It features more than 15 papers that explore the relevance of the social environment for health on the micro, meso, and macro level. Overall, the book applies a comprehensive contextual approach that includes discussion of how family and friends, neighborhoods, nations, and welfare regimes influence health. The book first explores the issue on the individual level. It looks at the importance of social capital for health among older people, examines types of social networks and health among older Americans, as well as discusses dynamic social capital and mental health in late life. Next, the book looks at the issue through a neighborhood and societal context, which takes into account day-to-day interaction in the immediate environment as well as the social, health, and economic policies in place in different regions in the world, including America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. From there, the book goes on to offer implications and recommendations for research and practice, including the management of related concepts of research on wellbeing and health. It also offers a psychosocial approach to promoting social capital and mental health among older adults. This book provides health professionals as well as researchers and students in gerontology, sociology, social policy, psychology, and social work with vital insights into the social factors that increase healthy life years and promote well-being.

OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Portugal 2015: Raising Standards.

Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Economiques. (O.C.D.E.). Paris. FRA
Paris : OCDE, 2015/05

This report reviews the quality of health care in Portugal, seeks to highlight best practices, and provides a series of targeted assessments and recommendations for further improvements to quality of care. The Portuguese National Health Service has responded well to financial pressure, successfully balancing the twin priorities of financial consolidation and continuous quality improvement. Even in the post-crisis years when GDP fell and health spending declined, improvements in quality of care continued. The need to reduce health spending has been met through a combination of structural reforms, and a well-designed suite of quality initiatives. Reforms around the purchasing and use of pharmaceuticals and medical devices have helped drive down costs, and Portugal has been innovative in how public funds are used to pay providers, increasingly basing payments on quality and efficiency. Important priorities for further work in the Portuguese health system do remain. Portugal will need to improve clinical processes and pathways, particularly in the acute sector. There is still room to improve efficiency, for instance increasing the share of generic drug consumption, and using the Portuguese health workforce more effectively, especially through expanded roles for nurses. Further structural reform is needed with an emphasis on shifting care out of hospitals into less-expensive community settings, and Portugal will also need to reflect on the strategic direction of the primary care system which, following an impressive reform, now risks developing into a two-tiered system with increasingly divergent levels of care quality.


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