03 October 2023

The Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) is consulting with health services, Safer Care Victoria (SCV) and colleagues across the department to refine the Victorian Health Incident Management System (VHIMS) Minimum Dataset (MDS).

The refinement of the MDS is part of the suite of VHIMS reforms. The reforms have included the design and implementation of the system to support automated, near-real-time data submission, release of the VHIMS reporting strategy, as well as development of VHIMS early warning system and statewide benchmarking reports which are due for released in late 2023. 

Data from the VHIMS MDS is essential to enable health services to benchmark against and learn from their peers, including identifying improvements in incident management processes, and informs oversight and monitoring of the Victorian health system by the department and Safer Care Victoria.

VAHI initially developed VHIMS MDS in 201819, with a focus on streamlining event type taxonomy to improve the useability of the data.  All health services were required to commence reporting the MDS by 30 June 2022.  

Feedback from health services over the last 1218 months of data collection has highlighted several opportunities to refine the dataset and business rules to reduce the reporting burden on health services and improve data quality and utility. 

Proposed changes to the VHIMS MDS have been developed by the VHIMS Working Group, which includes representatives from health services, SCV and the department. VAHI CEO, Dr Lance Emerson, recognised the significant input of this group in the project to date.

“It’s encouraging to see how actively health services are engaged - the working group have brought the sector’s perspective into design of the reforms. Their input is shaping the reforms… This is critical to getting near-real-time incident reporting right,” Dr Emerson said.

VHIMS working group members Lisa Ciabotti, from the Royal Children’s Hospital, and Claire Shaw, from the Alliance of Regional and Rural Community Health have welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the review.

“It was great to have a dedicated discussion about the complexities of incident reporting, and the review process is giving space to hear differing opinions and user experiences,” Ms Ciabotti said. 

“The process has enabled providers to raise suggested changes to MDS elements that will facilitate timely and accurate reporting, investigation and enhance the quality of data, including for non-acute health services such as community health organisations that report to VHIMS,” Ms Shaw added.

Proposals for change will be released for sector consultation in mid-October. Changes for 202425 focus on clinical incidents, with broader changes to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) incidents and hazards to be phased over the next 1218 months to enable further consultation with relevant areas of the sector.

Our sector partners at Austin Health, who have been supporting our VHIMS reform work, will be supporting health services throughout the consultation period, including through sector engagement and assistance to support development of responses to proposals for change.

The final VHIMS 2024-25 MDS will be released in December, for implementation from 1 July 2024.

For more information about the VHIMS MDS review, or broader VHIMS reforms, contact [email protected]