How should Victoria be assessing if quality and safety has improved in health services? That was the question VAHI asked its Strategic Advisory Committee at their meeting in August.
Committee members were presented 10-year trend data from publicly-reported Victorian health service quality and safety indicators, including measures around infections, unplanned readmissions, deaths in hospital, and access to surgery and emergency departments.
Discussion centred on trend data and other public data that could provide insight – including low-value care procedures, mortality within 30 days of a procedure, and rates of readmission to any hospital following a procedure. Data from clinical quality registries were flagged as a rich data source, and VAHI will look to draw on these sources as the collections mature.
The committee also considered what ‘improvement’ looks like, including the use of benchmarks, trends, variation across hospitals, reduction in standard deviation, the importance of quality and safety culture, and also case studies and vignettes from clinicians and consumers that could highlight changes in practice, outcomes and/or experiences.
Members’ suggestions on strategies to more effectively measure improvements in the system overall link to VAHI’s newly developed Strategic Plan 2019–2022, which will be to be launched at our Annual Forum. The strategy will see VAHI exploring enhanced analytics such as data linkage for hospital readmissions, and a broadening scope to include primary care, community care and social determinants of health.
So, has quality and safety improved in Victorian health services over the past 10 years? We’ll be discussing this question further at the VAHI Annual Forum on 19 September and will share highlights in VAHI news next month.