As intended in our Strategic plan 2019–2022, work to enhance our impact began this year. This workstream is oriented towards introducing information products and analyses that lead to changes in clinical practice and ultimately health outcomes. This workstream will have an increased focus in our work in 2021–22, as we deliver the final component of our three-year strategy.
Building capability for health analytics leadership
The VAHI analytics strategy is focused on building VAHI’s leadership in health analytics within Victoria. It will ensure we are well placed to meet future stakeholder expectations across measure development, online and interactive reporting, and advanced data analytics including predictive modelling and artificial intelligence.
Extensive consultation was undertaken in 2019–20 to ensure our analytics strategy addresses the needs of our partners and stakeholders. We received feedback from a range of stakeholders, including representatives from Victorian public health services, SCV, the Department and interstate information agencies.
Through this process, we gained many important insights, including a desire to enhance some of our quality and safety measures to allow a greater focus on the entire patient journey, and to better cater for local and small rural health services.
VAHI took important strides forward in developing our analytics strategy during 2019–20. Next year, with a focus on stakeholder engagement, we will explore how to further improve our reporting products and methods of distribution. This will involve enhancing VAHI’s analytics capabilities, and developing a roadmap of products, services and technologies as we shift to an increase in online and digital reporting.
Driving best practice through collaboration with national and international organisations
VAHI has established a range of partnerships on a national and international level to identify best evidence, share insights and drive best practice in data analytics, health reporting and measure development.
Many of these partnerships are outlined throughout this Year in review.
At a national level, we have created strong networks with other states and territories in Australia, including New South Wales and Queensland, in many of our programs including VHES, CQRs and hospital-acquired complications. We have also represented Victoria in national measure development processes with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
Internationally, we have collaborated with our health information agency counterparts in Canada, the USA and Demark.
In 2020–21, we will continue our engagement with Australian and international organisations in pursuit of best practice. We will also maintain a flexible approach, as the COVID-19 pandemic provides its own challenges and opportunities for collaboration and sharing lessons learned.
Support innovation and key reforms within Victoria
This year we have continued to support the Department in key reform priorities, including value-based care.
Work towards an interactive, digital report focused on value-based care in Victoria commenced in 2019–20, with a goal to release it in 2020–21. This report aims to measure and report on procedures that have low value to patients, and encourage hospitals and clinicians to change their behaviour in providing this type of care.
Count VAHI in for developing additional reporting measures
Following VAHI’s partnership with the Victorian Clinical Council (VCC) on the Count Me In forum in June 2019, we have translated insights from the event into actions for 2019–20 and beyond.
The forum, which prioritised key domains for measures development, brought together clinicians, consumers, health service executives, and representatives from the Department and SCV.
Participants were asked to rank a list of domains in order of priority. The top four priorities were identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes and cultural safety, child and youth health, mental health and palliative care.
Based on the findings of the forum, VAHI has spent 2019–20 developing action plans for each domain.
We released the Inspire: Mental health report, which includes new measures such as length of treatment orders, use of restrictive interventions and duration of care in admitted and ambulatory settings. This report will continue to be released twice a year, in line with ongoing work to develop new measures.
To address the need for new measures relating to child and youth health, we have developed a new indicator referencing unplanned readmissions for paediatric tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. This measure was included in the Quality and safety in Victorian private hospitals report in January 2020.
We have created population health reports focused on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, as well as end of life and palliative care. These reports will be released in 2020–21. Additionally, new palliative care measures are in development, also for reporting in 2020–21.
Our engagement with the VCC, clinicians, health service executives and consumers will continue in 2020–21 to capture and respond to their priority reporting needs.
Empowering health service boards in clinical governance
VAHI’s Board safety and quality report (BSQR) is Australia’s first quality and safety report specifically designed for health service boards. Since its first release in 2017, we have been working to continually evolve and improve the report, based on feedback and input from across our partners. In line with VAHI’s commitment to being collaborative and customer focused, this year we partnered with SCV to redesign the BSQR to better reflect health service boards’ information and data needs and their role in clinical governance.
VAHI established an expert advisory group (EAG) comprising board members from metropolitan and rural health services, the Department, SCV and VAHI’s Board Report Advisory Committee. The EAG informed the scope of the newly designed report and discussed ways to package information in a way that prompts meaningful boardroom conversations about quality and safety. VAHI also commissioned the CSIRO to undertake an environmental scan of frameworks, guidelines and indicators used in Australia and internationally related to reporting health service quality and safety. To ensure the new BSQR was providing relevant information, we engaged with a range of stakeholders, including board members, lead clinicians and executives at state, national and international levels.
In November 2019, we released the newly designed BSQR, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from health service boards. We look forward to further evolving the BSQR in line with stakeholder feedback.
Following release of the new BSQR, VAHI partnered with SCV to deliver clinical governance training workshops for health service board directors. VAHI assists board members to better understand and interpret the data contained within the report, and in doing so, empowering them to confidently scrutinise the data.
In addition to serving as an educational forum for board members, these workshops provided valuable insight into how board members consume VAHI reports, including challenges in interpreting VAHI reports to inform decisions. Following the success from this year’s inaugural workshops, plans are in place for more sessions in 2020–21.
VAHI Annual Forum 2019
We were pleased to host health service executives and board members, clinicians, consumers and colleagues across government at VAHI’s second annual forum in September 2019. The event provided a fantastic opportunity to bring VAHI’s stakeholders and partners together for a lively discussion about quality and safety in health care.
The forum opened with VAHI CEO Dr Lance Emerson sharing some of our highlights since VAHI’s last forum. He went on to explain how VAHI had listened to feedback from our partners and stakeholders and identified priority actions to meet health service and clinician needs over the coming years. Lance closed with a look to VAHI’s future and a commitment to continue strengthening the partnerships that make our strategic projects possible.
Jen Morris, healthcare consumer advocate and member of the VCC, gave a consumer’s perspective on the role of data in health care by sharing her own experience with diagnostic error in our health system. Jen highlighted opportunities for health services and VAHI to design data collection systems to allow for increased understanding of diagnostic errors.
Kira Leeb, VAHI’s Executive Director of Health and System Performance, then gave a data tour to explore the state of healthcare quality and safety in Victoria.
The event closed with an insightful panel discussion moderated by Jen, who asked the question, ‘Quality and safety in Victoria – is it improving?’ The panel highlighted perspectives from across the Victorian health sector, with the overall conclusion that while some improvements have been made, there is still plenty of opportunity to further enhance health quality and safety. Thank you to panel members Professor Christine Kilpatrick, CEO, Melbourne Health; Associate Professor Jill Sewell, consultant paediatrician and Chair, VCC; Professor Euan Wallace, CEO, SCV; and Mary Draper AM, board member, Austin Health.