The Victorian Population Health Survey (VPHS), Australia’s longest continuously running population health survey, has been informing the work of policy developers, strategic planners, government and the community for almost 20 years.
With responsibility for population health surveillance and reporting moving from the Department of Health and Human Services to VAHI earlier this year, we recently established a Victorian Population Health Survey and Data Steering Committee to advise on future directions for the survey, in particular how to complement and augment the data collected each year. Membership includes representatives from across the Department as well as VicHealth.
The committee will advise on the collection and use of Victorian health data collected through current population health surveys and how they work alongside emerging data sources. Specifically, we expect the committee to:
- provide guidance on adding new questions or modules to the VPHS, including providing commentary on the relevance, context and time-limited nature of the inclusion of new questions
- provide advice on securing ongoing funding arrangements for the VPHS local government area survey in the context of other emerging data sources that may also require investment strategies
- identify opportunities for partnership with external organisations to increase the usefulness of existing data collections while minimising duplication
- advise on the ability to collect other sources of health data including data on the determinants of health to enhance health surveillance, including linked data where possible.
One of the first deliverables from this committee will be a ‘white paper’ identifying the current and emerging sources of population health data available for surveillance reporting and providing options for how data sources could be maintained and enhanced into the future. We expect to have a draft paper available for public comment through VAHI’s website soon.