Which two things cause a quarter of all deaths in the world?


By Lauren Friedman, Jun 12 2015

Of all people who died in 2012 (approximately 56 million in total), more than half died from just 10 causes.  Even more remarkable, just two leading causes of death — stroke and ischemic heart disease — were together responsible for a full quarter of those deaths.

Here’s a look at the data, from the World Health Organization:

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The UBER-isation of Healthcare

John Sculley, ex-CEO of Apple and Pepsi, and also health technology investor, gave his view on healthcare inequality and how smartphones could maybe build more equality and healthcare access in developing countries. We interviewed him at the Digital Health Live conference in Dubai today, where he spoke about the future of healthcare.

As former CEO of Apple and Pepsi (1977-1983), John Sculley knows brands. But Sculley is now talking about looking beyond the brand.

Before, big brands were everything—but now, customers are better informed with different tools. He is now interested in how big data is changing customer decision making.

“Healthcare Missed the Digital Revolution”

When it comes to healthcare and data, there is room for optimisation: “Only 20% is evidence-based medicine that physicians apply, so it’s increasingly about the data”.

Healthcare needs to make more use of the data that is out there. At Digital Health Live 2015, Sculley says that billions of devices will be connected to the Internet Of Things by 2020 (Morgan Stanley mentions that it could be as much as 75 billion devices). But most of the connections will be machine-to-machine and not connected to people directly.

The smartphone is a channel to deliver healthcare information to places never before possible. For example, small information snippets can radically alter the healthcare statistics around birth and pregnancy.

Those billions of connected devices are not equally distributed, and the question will be about how to best extract valuable insights and deliver the information to where it is most needed.

– See more at: http://nuviun.com/content/john-sculley–the-uberisation-of-healthcare#sthash.c2gP7rzY.dpuf

Portugal Has the EU’s Busiest Psychiatrists – OneEurope

Portugal Has the EU’s Busiest Psychiatrists

Portugal, Spain and Malta are the European countries where people receive the most psychiatric treatments.

18 Oct 2014 | archived in: , , , , , , and

Europe’s Busiest Psychiatrists. This infographic has been made by Statista (statista.com)

According to this infographic made by Statista , despite the stereotype of the happy disposition of the southern Europeans, the most busiest psychiatrist are in the South of Europe.These statistics have been made after one year of research and the results show that the Portuguese psychiatrists had 294 patients and 2.94 percent of the country’s entire population received psychiatric treatment.

At the second place are the Spanish psychiatrists, who had 255 patients and 2.04 percent of the population received psychiatric treatment. Malta is the third country, with an average of 250 patients and 1% of the population receiving treatment. Romania and Slovenia close the top five.

What do you think could be the explanation of this issue?

Do you think there is any regional, socio-cultural or political explanation?

Do you think the economic crisis increased this issue?


via Portugal Has the EU’s Busiest Psychiatrists – OneEurope.

Medical Practice Variations in OECD member countries

Release date:
16 September 2014

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Geographic Variations in Health Care
What Do We Know and What Can Be Done to Improve Health System Performance?

Variations in health care use within a country are complicated. In some cases they may reflect differences in health needs, in patient preferences or in the diffusion of a therapeutic innovation; in others they may not. There is evidence that some of the observed variations are unwarranted, signalling under- or over-provision of health services, or both. This study documents geographic variations for high-cost and high-volume procedures in select OECD countries. It finds that there are wide variations not only across countries, but within them as well. A mix of patient preferences and physician practice styles likely play an important part in this, but what part of the observed variations reflects over-provision, or whether there are unmet needs, remain largely unexplained. This report helps policy makers better understand the issues and challenges around geographic variations in health care provision and considers the policy options.

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> OECD press release: Governments must tackle regional variations in health care use, says OECD
> Read the Focus on Health: Geographic Variations in Health Care (PDF, 8 pages)
> Subscribers and readers at subscribing institutions can access the online edition via the OECD iLibrary
> Buy the publication on the Online Bookshop

Health policies and data – OECD

Health policies and data – OECD

16/9/14 – Health care use varies widely across countries but can also
vary as much or more within countries. Governments should do more to
improve their health systems to prevent unnecessary interventions and
ensure that everyone has the same access to quality healthcare, wherever
they live, according to a new OECD report.

Geographic Variations in Health Care analyses
the geographic variations across a range of high-volume and high-cost
health care activities, such as heart bypass or knee replacement

Some of the variations observed in the 13 OECD countries* are
unwarranted, says the report, and ought to be tackled so that
high-quality health systems deliver the care patients need.

The number of patients admitted to a hospital for a reason other than
surgery, for example, is twice as high in Australia, Germany and Israel
than in Canada, Portugal and Spain. Admission rates also vary widely
within countries: in some parts of Australia, Canada, England, Finland,
Italy or Portugal, a patient is two to three times more likely to be
admitted to hospital than in other parts of those countries.

A patient is also three times more likely to undergo cardiac
revascularisation procedures in Germany and Israel than in countries
with the lowest levels of intervention. In most countries, these
procedures have the highest level of variation across geographical
areas. Knee replacement rates vary by more than five-fold within Canada,
Portugal and Spain, and by two-to three-fold across geographic areas in
most OECD countries.

Caesarean section rates are on the rise. The probability to give
birth by C-section is 50% higher in Italy, Portugal, Australia,
Switzerland and Germany than in the other participating countries.
C-section rates vary little within countries, except in Italy where they
vary by six-fold across provinces.

To tackle unwarranted variations in health care use, governments should put in place:

  • Public reporting and target setting. Canada,
    the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom have public reporting on
    health care utilisation by geographic area. Italy sets regional targets
    to encourage more appropriate use of caesarean sections, and Belgium
    sets targets for reducing exposure to radiation from imaging tests.
  • Policies targeting providers. Providers
    receive feedbackon utilisation ofcardiac care in Ontario (Canada) and
    caesarean sections in Belgium. Spain has a monitoring system to support
    compliance with clinical guidelines for C-sections and financial
    incentives show some promise in England, France and Korea.
  • Patient centred approaches. Tools to
    support shared patient doctor decision-making are used in the United
    States and the United Kingdom. Patient outcome measurement after
    surgical procedures is used in Sweden and the United Kingdom to indicate
    to what extent patients have benefitted from the intervention or not.

The report’s main findings will be presented at a joint conference held by the OECD and the Bertelsmann Foundation on 16th September 2014 in Berlin (www.faktencheck-gesundheit.de).

For more information including detailed country notes, see: http://www.oecd.org/health/health-systems/medical-practice-variations.htm

via Health policies and data – OECD.

via Health policies and data – OECD.

Art for Art’s Sake? The Impact of Arts Education

ImageArts education is often said to be a means of developing critical and creative thinking. Arts education has also been argued to enhance performance in non-arts academic subjects such as mathematics, science, reading and writing, and to strengthen students’ academic motivation, self-confidence, and ability to communicate and co-operate effectively. Arts education thus seems to have a positive impact on the three subsets of skills that we define as “skills for innovation”: subject-based skills, including in non-arts subjects; skills in thinking and creativity; and behavioural and social skills.

This OECD report “Art for Art’s Sake: The Impact of Arts Education,” by Ellen Winner, Thalia Goldstein , and Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin, examines the state of empirical knowledge about the impact of arts education on these kinds of outcomes. The kinds of arts education examined include arts classes in school (classes in music, visual arts, theatre, and dance), arts-integrated classes (where the arts are taught as a support for an academic subject), and arts study undertaken outside of school (e.g. private music lessons; out-of-school classes in theatre, visual arts, and dance). The report does not deal with education about the arts or cultural education, which may be included in all kinds of subjects.

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Feb 8, 2013

By Julia Laplane, OECD

We all know that good health is important to a good life – and as the Roman poet Juvenal made clear some 2,000 years ago, that means physical and mental health. “Mens sana in corpora sano” (a healthy mind in a health body) was his recipe for a long and happy life. The importance of both aspects of health is just as true today. At any given moment, around 20% of the working-age population within the OECD suffers from a mental disorder – the most common being depression, anxiety or substance-use disorders.

Mental health issues and physical poor health are also closely linked. According to a recent report, health-compromising behaviour such as binge drinking, smoking, illegal drug use, unhealthy diets or unsafe sex could be a way of coping with stress or anxiety. Young people are particularly vulnerable: a recent Australian study published by the British Medical Journal Open (BMJ Open) found that  one in 10 teenagers with mental health issues also drinks, smokes cigarettes and uses cannabis on a weekly basis. Teen years can be particularly challenging and 75% of all mental illnesses develop before the age of 24. This reveals the importance of dealing with mental illness at an early stage in life, to prevent school failure and later consequences on one’s professional and social life.



In addition to the compelling human reasons for offering adequate care and treatment for those suffering from mental illness, there are also strong economic arguments for paying attention to this healthcare issue.  Mental ill-health is also at the heart of labour market policies, as it represents significant costs for individuals, employers and the economy. According to an estimate from the International Labour Organisation, the costs of mental ill-health represent around 3-4% of the European Union’s gross domestic product. People suffering from mental disorders tend to face greater difficulty in entering or staying in the workforce. Workers with severe mental disorders need sustainable help to reconnect with the labour market while others suffering from more common forms of mental disorders, struggle at their workplace. Beyond the loss of potential labour supply, mental disorders are associated with a higher incidence of sickness absence and a risk of reduced productivity at work.

Although so many of us suffer from a mental disorder at some time in our lives, and while the importance of mental health and well-being at work is slowly being acknowledged, many people still feel uncomfortable about health issues. A 2009 survey in Britain showed, for instance, that people find it more difficult to admit to a mental health issue than a drink problem or to going bankrupt. Mental disorders still represent a taboo, which has been neglected for too long.

The OECD published a first report on mental health and work in December 2011. Building on this initiative, the first-ever review of mental health and work challenges in Belgium was recently published. Reports on Denmark (25/02), Norway (05/03) and Sweden (05/03) will shortly follow.