In several European countries, including Norway, polices to increase patient choice of hospital provider have remained high on the political agenda. The main reason behind the interest in hospital choice reforms in Norway has been the belief that increasing choice can remedy the persistent problem of long waiting times for elective hospital care. Prior to the 2013 General Election, the Conservative Party campaigned in favour of a new choice reform: "the treatment choice reform". This article describes the background and process leading up to introduction of the reform in the autumn of 2015. It also provides a description of the content and discusses possible implications of the reform for patients, providers and government bodies. In sum, the reform contains elements of both continuity and change. The main novelty of the reform lies in the increased role of private for-profit healthcare providers.
Starting in 2015, the Swedish government has initiated a national reform to standardize cancer patient pathways and thereby eventually speed up treatment of cancer. Cancer care in Sweden is characterized by high survival rates and a generally high quality albeit long waiting times. The objective with the new national program to standardize cancer care pathways is to reduce these waiting times, increase patient satisfaction with cancer care and reduce regional inequalities. A new time-point for measuring the start of a care process is introduced called well-founded suspicion, which is individually designed for each cancer diagnosis. While medical guidelines are well established earlier, the standardisation is achieved by defining time boundaries for each step in the process. The cancer reform program is a collaborative effort initiated and incentivized by the central government while multi-professional groups develop the time-bound standardized care pathways, which the regional authorities are responsible for implementing. The broad stakeholder engagement and time-bound guidelines are interesting approaches to study for other countries that need to streamline care processes.
The main aim of the Swedish Women's Peace reform in 1998 was to enhance criminal legal protection for women exposed to violence in heterosexual relationships and to promote gender equality. However, these ambitions risk being contravened in a masculinist criminal legal system. One problem concerns how the victim is constructed in criminal legal cases. The author argues that moral balancing and discourses of responsibility and guilt in Swedish cases constrain the agency possible for women and suggest that a more comprehensive policy in Sweden must be developed to include violent men, their agency, and their responsibility for the violence.
Four First Nation communities in Ontario, Canada, formulated alcohol management policies between 1992 and 1994. An alcohol management policy is a local control option to manage alcohol use in recreation and leisure areas. Survey results indicate that decreases in alcohol use-related problems related to intoxication, nuisance behaviors, criminal activity, liquor license violations, and personal harm were perceived to have occurred. Furthermore, having policy regulations in place did not have an adverse effect on facility rentals. Band administrators and facility staff in each community felt the policy had had a positive effect on events at which alcohol was sold or served.
Long-term measures to reduce tobacco consumption in Australia have had differential effects in the population. The prevalence of smoking in Aboriginal peoples is currently more than double that of the non-Aboriginal population. Aboriginal Health Workers are responsible for providing primary health care to Aboriginal clients including smoking cessation programs. However, Aboriginal Health Workers are frequently smokers themselves, and their smoking undermines the smoking cessation services they deliver to Aboriginal clients. An understanding of the barriers to quitting smoking experienced by Aboriginal Health Workers is needed to design culturally relevant smoking cessation programs. Once smoking is reduced in Aboriginal Health Workers, they may then be able to support Aboriginal clients to quit smoking.
We undertook a fundamental qualitative description study underpinned by social ecological theory. The research was participatory, and academic researchers worked in partnership with personnel from the local Aboriginal health council. The barriers Aboriginal Health Workers experience in relation to quitting smoking were explored in 34 semi-structured interviews (with 23 Aboriginal Health Workers and 11 other health staff) and 3 focus groups (n = 17 participants) with key informants. Content analysis was performed on transcribed text and interview notes.
Aboriginal Health Workers spoke of burdensome stress and grief which made them unable to prioritise quitting smoking. They lacked knowledge about quitting and access to culturally relevant quitting resources. Interpersonal obstacles included a social pressure to smoke, social exclusion when quitting, and few role models. In many workplaces, smoking was part of organisational culture and there were challenges to implementation of Smokefree policy. Respondents identified inadequate funding of tobacco programs and a lack of Smokefree public spaces as policy level barriers. The normalisation of smoking in Aboriginal society was an overarching challenge to quitting.
Aboriginal Health Workers experience multilevel barriers to quitting smoking that include personal, social, cultural and environmental factors. Multidimensional smoking cessation programs are needed that reduce the stress and burden for Aboriginal Health Workers; provide access to culturally relevant quitting resources; and address the prevailing normalisation of smoking in the family, workplace and community.
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Challenges to the development of appropriate yet adaptable policy and tools for security of the individual patient electronic health record (EHR) are proving to be significant. Compounding this is the unique capability of e-health to transgress all existing geo-political and other barriers. Initiatives to develop and advance policy, standards, and tools in relation to EHR access control and authorisation management must address this capability. Currently policy development initiatives take place largely in an isolated manner. This jeopardises the potential of e-health because decisions made in one jurisdiction might hamper, even prevent, an e-health opportunity in another. This paper places access and authorisation issues in an overall policy context through describing current Canadian initiatives. The National Initiative for Telehealth (NIFTE) Guidelines project is developing a framework of national guidelines for telehealth. The Policy and Peer Permission (PPP) project is developing a unique tool that provides persistent protection of data. The new corporate body 'Infoway' is developing a pan-Canadian electronic health record solution. Finally, the Glocal e-Health Policy initiative is developing a tool with which to identify and describe the inter-relationships of e-health issues amongst policy levels, themes, and actors.