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Since early 2020, VAHI has played an important role in supporting Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have made it our priority to work with the Department and other partners across the health system to meet the needs of Victorians during this challenging period. Our mission to deliver trusted information to inform better decisions that improve the health and wellbeing of Victorians is strongly aligned with Victoria’s COVID-19 response.

Staff deployment

From March 2020, many VAHI staff were deployed to wholly support Victoria’s COVID-19 response across several key areas, including: 

  • providing the Department and health services with regular and meaningful information on pandemic impact and outcomes 
  • responding to data requests 
  • establishing intensive care unit (ICU) clinical data collection 
  • collating and assisting in linking of data 
  • providing coding advice to the Department and the health sector on new requirements 
  • staffing clinical hotlines 
  • assisting in population health surveillance activities, including tracing 
  • providing general support, including procurement and logistics.

Supporting information needs for COVID-19 

The scale of COVID-19’s impact on Victoria has been immense. To ensure we are supporting the statewide response to our full potential, VAHI is delivering on Victoria’s COVID-19 information needs by: 

  • facilitating the provision of data to the COVID-19 datamart 
  • providing data to inform a range of requests and various dashboards 
  • developing indicators and reporting products.

VAHI’s work in consolidating and providing data to the COVID-19 datamart has been led by brokering access to external datasets. We have facilitated the provision of data related to COVID-19 patients in ICU from the Short Period Incidence Study of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SPRINT-SARI) surveillance database. This database collects treatment and clinical outcomes data of COVID-19 patients admitted in ICU, allowing for a clear picture of ICU capacity and the COVID-19 patient journey. 

VAHI has received many requests for COVID-19-related data during the pandemic, both within Victoria and nationally. Data provided to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is used to inform the National Cabinet when making decisions about Australia’s COVID-19 response. These data include statewide and hospital-level reporting around emergency department capacity and presentations, updated daily.

We have commenced work in developing new indicators and reports, including a COVID-19 module for the 2020 Victorian Population Health Survey. This module aims to measure the psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, attitudes towards and compliance with public health measures, and identify key and vulnerable populations during the pandemic. The important findings from this module will inform future pandemic preparedness and planning. 

COVID-19 Information and Intelligence Leadership Team 

VAHI contributes to the COVID-19 Information and Intelligence Leadership Team (CIILT) to ensure the coordinated flow of data, information and intelligence requests across the health system and government. This work focused on establishing a centralised process for capturing and triaging information requests and coordinating the response process to ensure a single source of truth approach, supporting the COVID-19 datamart as a key project. 

The CIILT reports through to the Intelligence Executive Lead as a member of the Department’s incident management team. 

Spotlight

Weekly reporting of COVID-19’s impact on Victorian mental health services

In response to the need for data that demonstrates the impact of COVID-19 on Victoria’s health system, VAHI created the Impact of COVID-19 on mental health and alcohol and other drug treatment services in Victoria report. The report presents longitudinal data on measures of access, activity and outcomes, and is issued to the Department and Mental Health Reform Victoria every week. 

Data presented in the report allows the Department to better understand the demand for, activity within, and impact of COVID-19 on the operations of public clinical mental health and alcohol and other drug service providers. Importantly, the report also allows users to examine the effects of different stages of COVID-19 restrictions and isolation on the mental health and wellbeing of Victorians.

Page last updated: 26 Oct 2020

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