Pilot projects on nutrition and physical activity

A pilot project or preparatory action is an initiative of an experimental nature designed to test the feasibility and usefulness of action. It is meant to try different approaches, develop evidence-based strategies to address a problem, identify good practices, and provide policy guidance for the benefit of possible future initiatives in a particular area of health and welfare.

A number of pilot projects have been funded by the EU that explore different approaches to nutrition and physical activity and these are now available for others to learn from.

For more information about pilot projects on nutrition and physical activity on the ec.europa.eu website

Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health

Following a brief pause after the economic crisis, health expenditure is rising again in most OECD countries, yet a considerable part of this health expenditure makes little or no contribution to improving people’s health. In some cases, it even results in worse health outcomes. S0, as this report points out, countries could potentially spend significantly less on health care with no impact on health system performance, or on health outcomes. The report ‘Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health‘ reviews strategies put in place by countries to limit ineffective spending and waste.

To find out more about the report on Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health on the keepeek.com website

Health Policy Journal

Health Policy is a journal produced by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. It is intended to enable a wide discussion of health policy issues and is aimed in particular at improving communication between health policy researchers, legislators, decision-makers and professionals concerned with developing, implementing and analysing health policy.

For more information about Health Policy and to download previous issues on the hspm.org website

Carbapenem-resistant A. Baumannii

Outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii in healthcare facilities have been reported in Europe and worldwide.

Infections with carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii occur in patients with severe underlying diseases, mainly in intensive care units, and are often related to invasive procedures or indwelling devices. However, such infections are increasingly being reported in patients admitted to conventional medical/surgical wards and A. baumannii is difficult to eradicate once it has become endemic.

While carbapenems traditionally were the antibiotics of choice for treatment of A. baumannii infections, resistance to these drugs has led to increased use of colistin as last-line treatment. Although still rare, resistance to colistin in A. baumannii is also increasingly being reported in Europe.

This is a significant threat to patients and healthcare systems in all EU/EEA countries and the risks need to be reduced through clinical management, prevention of transmission in hospitals and other healthcare settings, prevention of cross-border transmission, and improvement of preparedness of EU/EEA countries.

For more information on Anti-Microbial Resistance on the ecdc.europa.eu website

Sharing medical expertise across Europe

The European Commission has initiated a series of European Reference Networks (ERNs) to share expertise in specific medical areas.

Any group of at least 10 healthcare providers established in at least 8 Member States were invited to submit an application to establish an ERN in a given field of expertise and 23 such groups have been approved.

The ERNs cover a wide range of medical fields, such as rare bone disorders, paediatric cancers and rare eye diseases.

More details and a full list of European Reference Networks are on the ec.europa.eu website

Putting a value on improvements to health

Ensuring global access to proven interventions – including vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics, as well as prioritising the development of new health technologies – requires an assessment of whether the improvement in health outcomes they offer exceeds the improvement in health that would have been possible if the resources required had, instead, been made available for other health care activities. So some assessment of these health opportunity costs is required if the best use is to be made of the resources available for health care, existing technologies and the development of new ones.

Evidence of the expected costs and health effects of making an intervention available to specific populations in
particular settings and health care systems are often summarised as cost per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) ratios (Salomon et al, 2012). These provide a useful summary of how much additional resource is required to achieve a measured improvement in health (the additional cost required to avert one DALY), or how much health is delivered for an amount of additional resource (the DALYs averted per $1,000).
Download the full briefing paper on Health Opportunity Costs on the york.ac.uk website

Longer life, but not necessarily healthier life

Life expectancy now exceeds 80 years in most EU countries according to the new report “Health at a Glance: Europe 2016“, but these are not always healthy life years. Around 50 million people in the EU suffer from several chronic diseases, and more than half a million people of working age die from them every year, representing an annual cost of some €115 billion for EU economies. Three fundamental changes are needed if this is going to change:

  • more effective health systems: 550,000 people of working age die every year from potentially avoidable diseases. 16% of adults are obese now (up from 11% in 2000) and one in five is still smoking. Many lives could be saved firstly, by focusing more resources on health promotion and disease prevention strategies and secondly, by improving the quality of acute and chronic care.
  • more accessible health systems: 27% of patients go to A & E due to the lack of availability of primary care; an average of 15% of health spending is paid directly out-of-pocket by patients with large disparities between countries; and poor Europeans are on average 10 times more likely to have problems in getting proper healthcare for financial reasons than more affluent ones. Member States’ policies should focus on reducing financial barriers to healthcare, strengthening access to primary care, and reducing excessive waiting times.
  • more resilient health systems: Across the EU the share of the population over 65 has increased from less than 10% in 1960 to nearly 20% in 2015 and is projected to increase to nearly 30% by 2060. Population ageing, combined with increasing rates of chronic diseases and budgetary constraints, will require changes in how we deliver healthcare, including developing eHealth, reducing hospital stays by organising services better in primary and community care, and spending more wisely on pharmaceuticals, including by making full use of opportunities for generic substitutions.

More information about Improving Health Systems on the europa.eu website

Master Class on Care Pathways

21-23 September 2017, Venice, Italy

The European Pathway Association is organising an International Master Class on Care Pathways and the Organisation of Care Processes. This two day event will focus less on pathway basics (unlike previous master classes), but will make the link with other relevant and current topics (Triple Aim, Pathways for health, Value Based Healthcare etc).

For more information and registration on the Master Class on Care Pathways on the e-p-a.org website

Health at a Glance

There are two new reports from the OECD in the ‘Health at a Glance’ series:

Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 which is the fourth edition looking at health in the EU and presents key indicators of health and health systems in the 28 EU countries, 5 candidate countries to the EU and 3 EFTA countries.

Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2016 which presents key indicators of health status, the determinants of health, health care resources and utilisation, health care expenditure and financing, and health care quality across 27 Asia-Pacific countries and economies.

Download the Health in Europe report and the Health in Asia/Pacific report from the keepeek.com website