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Posted on 07 May 2019

As we reform the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) program, we continue to look at ways to support health services to use their data and drive a focus on patient-centred care.

During the recent Victorian Healthcare Experience Roadshow run by VAHI and Safer Care Victoria,  a consistent message we heard from health services was that they wanted more insights into the data provided through the experience survey.

To address this, VAHI is now providing short VHES insights reports through the VHES portal as part of each quarterly release. The VHES insights examine a specific part of the program to provide a more in-depth view of the data and highlight important perspectives and opportunities.

VHES Insights Maternity Cover

The aim of VHES insights is to help prioritise which aspects of patient experience the health service should focus on. The VHES surveys have a large number of questions, giving a comprehensive picture of patient experience across care. The VHES insights have been designed to help health services focus on key aspects of care – the one or two questions where, at a state-level, we can make the most difference to a patient’s experience.

We recently sat down with Sherri Huckstep, Chief Experience Officer at the Royal Women’s Hospital, to talk about how she has used the insights to inform the hospital’s approach to person-centred care.

Sherri Huckstep picture portrait

Sherri uses information from the VHES insights to support conversations and the development of improvement plans with management teams.

‘The VHES data prompts the conversation, the thinking and the focus on patient experience and what we might do better,’ said Sherri.

She has found the VHES insights reports to be helpful in strengthening the case for patient experience being a driver of person-centred care and a critical part of the quality and safety picture. Sherri says it is especially helpful for getting ‘scientific minds’ on board.

‘When we can put a little rigor behind it, patient experience doesn’t feel fluffy to people. It strengthens the case that this is something really worth paying attention to,’ she said.

The VHES insights report on Involvement in maternity care decision making was particularly relevant at the Women’s. The analysis showed that the key factors to feeling involved during pregnancy and birth were receiving explanations from health professionals, feeling listened to, understood, respected and having trust in health care professionals. The report also demonstrated why feeling involved in healthcare is important in the maternity setting, including the benefits this can have for the health of the woman and her baby.

Sherri explained that, while the Women’s results for patients’ involvement in decisions were OK, they could always do better.

‘Based on the VHES data and the analysis done and reported in the VHES insights report, this is a key aspect of care for maternity patients. It’s really important to them and it is something we need to do some work on if we are going to continue to Create Exceptional Experiences,’ said Sherri.

To date, VAHI has produced insight reports on a variety of topics including understanding key aspects of care, the impact of high-quality communication and wait times in ED.

Upcoming VHES insights will look at community health and specialist clinics. We also have a report in the pipeline that will look at variation in results across all continuous surveys. It will identify aspects where there is good potential to improve and aspects where it is more difficult to make improvements.

We are always looking for new ideas to provide context and details to the VHES data. Get in touch at and let us know what would be of interest.

Page last updated: 07 May 2019