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About the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey Program

The Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) program collects, analyses and reports feedback from recent users of Victorian public health, community health, mental health and palliative care services (hereafter referred to as health services) about their experience of care. This feedback is reported to health services, as well as the Department of Health (the Department) and Safer Care Victoria (SCV), to inform quality improvement initiatives and support a patient-centred approach to healthcare delivery.

The VHES program plays a key role in supporting our commitment to improve the experience of patients who use Victorian health services. To date, over 400,000 Victorians have completed a VHES questionnaire. The information gathered through these questionnaires helps health services, the Department and SCV understand the aspects of care that are most important to patients. This information drives the delivery of patient-centred care and helps focus on improvements in areas where they are likely to have the greatest positive impact.

VHES Administrator

Following an extensive procurement process which concluded in June 2021, Ipsos Public Affairs (Ipsos) has been contracted as the administrator of the VHES program until 2024. Ipsos will undertake data collection, analysis, reporting and other support activities for the VHES program on behalf of VAHI.

Ipsos has administered the VHES program under the previous agreement since 2014 and is the previous administrator of the Your Experience of Service and Carer Experience of Service Mental Health Client surveys, which moved into the VHES program from 2021–22.

Data Collection and Reporting

Data collection is scheduled to resume in October (for patients discharged from 1 July 2021 onwards), using the new Adult Inpatient, Adult Emergency and Maternity surveys. Data collection for Paediatric, Community Health, Ambulance, Specialist Clinics and Mental Health patient categories will follow over the remainder of the year.

Once data collection resumes, health services can expect to see interim VHES results for the relevant surveys reported daily on the VHES portal. The first quarterly results will be reported on the VHES portal in December 2021, as well as through VAHI’s routine reporting program early in 2022.

Inclusion of the Your Experience of Service (YES) and Carer Experience Surveys (CES)

The Mental Health Your Experience of Service (YES) and Carer Experience Surveys (CES) are now part of the VHES program. The CES and the YES are expected to run from February to April 2022. Results from both surveys will be reported to relevant health services on the VHES Results Portal. VAHI looks forward to working with Designated Mental health services and the Department to capture and report the experience of mental health clients and their carers.

Insight reports

VAHI releases a number of Insight reports each year that explore specific topics from the VHES in greater detail and provide actionable insights to health services and other stakeholders.

The first insight report for 2021-22 will take a retrospective look at data collection from adult inpatients, adult emergency patients and maternity patients between 2014 and 2020. The report is scheduled to be released before the end of 2021.

Program Improvements

VAHI has implemented several improvements as part of the new VHES program to increase the utility of the survey program, with a focus on the timeliness and actionability of patient experience data.

Transition to Electronic data collection

The VHES will transition to electronic data collection from 1 July 2021, meaning that most surveys will be completed by the patient online. Digital data collection will provide more timely feedback to health services and enable VAHI, in consultation with stakeholders to adapt the surveys in response to major events and changing priorities across the health system, including the current COVID-19 pandemic.

VAHI will closely monitor the response to the new online methodology and will make refinements as necessary over time to ensure we capture the voice of all Victorians.

Surveys that have previously been distributed to patients directly by services, including the community health, in-hospital palliative care and mental health (YES) categories will continue to use paper surveys for 2021–22. This approach will be reviewed ahead of the second year of data collection.

Survey redesign

The surveys have been redesigned in consultation with health services and consumers to be shorter, provide more actionable insights and focus on the aspects of care most important to patients.

The newly redesigned instruments will comprise:

  • 20 core questions that are relevant to all patient categories, and are aligned to the domains of SCV’s Partnering in Healthcare Framework
  • ~10 questions specific to the patient population/care setting (i.e. inpatient, emergency, maternity, outpatient, community health, ambulance, palliative care).
  • five demographic questions.

The target of ~35 questions for the new surveys is based on evidence about the ideal survey length for electronic delivery. In 2021–22, VAHI will continue to explore the impact of survey length on patient participation to ensure the voice of all Victorian’s is captured.

The YES and CES surveys have not been redesigned as they are based on nationally agreed approaches and will continue to use the current questionnaires in 2021–22. We will work with stakeholders over the next year to consider what changes we could make to these surveys for 2022–23.

Inclusion of new health service-specific questions

Over 2021–22, VAHI and Ipsos will work with interested health services to identify up to five additional questions that can be included in the survey for patients of that health service from 2022–23. This will enable health services to capture any data specific to their needs that is not covered by the new surveys. Data from these additional questions will be reported directly to the health service.

Priority Reforms for 2021–22

In 2021‒22, VAHI will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that the VHES program is meeting the needs of health services and consumers, with a focus on culturally and linguistically diverse patients, as well as local and small rural health services. More information on these priority projects will be communicated in the coming months – stay tuned to VAHI News.

Privacy

The VHES program is governed by legislation that protects patient privacy and how patient information is handled. Survey responses are deidentified before information is reported back to health services.

Consistent with requirements under the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), health services provide patient contact details and other details essential for Ipsos to undertake its role as survey administrator. Ipsos securely stores this information in an Australian database in accordance with ISO27001, until the quarterly data collection cycle is completed, and the patient data is deleted. Databases are subject to scheduled penetration testing and security compliance assessment.

To opt-out of the VHES program, or to access or correct any information Ipsos holds about you, please call 1800 356 928

Data collection statement

The Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey program invites patients and carers of patients who recently received services in the public health system to provide feedback about their recent experience of care. Survey responses are deidentified and provided to the Victorian Department of Health (the Department) and health services, which are used to evaluate and improve health care delivery in Victoria. Survey responses will not affect any health services that may be provided to survey participants or persons in their care.

Ipsos Australia, an independent research company, is contracted by the Department to administer a number of different health service surveys, analyse the results, and provide reports to public health services, Ambulance Victoria and the Department.

Victorian public health services and Ambulance Victoria provide limited information about relevant patient admissions directly to Ipsos Australia to enable the administration and evaluation of the surveys. Depending on the type of survey, this information may include details such as name and contact information, demographic information, admission type and dates, and Indigenous status. Authorised Mental Health Services may provide the name and contact details of patient carers.

Ipsos Australia engages other companies to assist in managing the surveys and translating responses. Ipsos Australia and these companies use a unique code to track responses in its survey systems, rather than by name.

Ipsos Australia will collect any partially completed electronic responses that are provided so that participants can return to the survey later if they wish. Incomplete responses will be deleted at the end of each quarterly survey cycle. We request that survey participants do not provide any information that would identify them or another person in their survey responses. Survey responses are temporarily linked by the unique code to personal information held by Ipsos Australia to enable distribution of survey invitations and reminders. Ipsos Australia will retain personal information for a period of 6 months so that participants are not sent another survey within that period. After that time, Ipsos Australia will destroy its record of your personal information.

You are able to gain access to information held about you by Ipsos Australia and the Department by calling 1800 356 928, or via email at survey@vhes.com.au.

If you wish to make a complaint about the health service you received, please make the complaint directly to the relevant health service rather than including the complaint in the survey response. This is because your survey response is de-identified and we may not be able to act on specific complaints contained within the response. If you feel the health service is not responding to your complaint, you may contact the Office of the Health Complaints Commissioner on 1300 582 113.

More information

For more information about the VHES program please contact us at vhes@vahi.vic.gov.au.

Get in touch

Patient Experience and Outcomes
Victorian Agency for Health Information

Page last updated: 20 Oct 2021

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