05 December 2023

The Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) is partnering with Eastern Health as the first phase of a broader project to improve the collection, collation and use of consumer feedback. Eastern Health have recently come on board to lead consultations with health services, and their expertise will guide how the sector is engaged in this important work. 

Consumer feedback is integral to improving the experience and care for patients across our health system. Understanding how patients are experiencing care and what is most important to them, enables a focus on improvements in areas where they are likely to have the greatest positive impact. 

The first phase will see the project meet with a range of health services to understand how they currently collect and use consumer feedback. The meetings will enable us to build knowledge on what process and mechanisms could complement these existing systems. Lou Coleman, project lead at Eastern Health, has been reaching out to relevant staff in health services to start these conversations. 

“We know that health services have well-established mechanisms to hear from their patients and consumers,” Ms Coleman said. 

“Our aim is to ensure that consumers are empowered to share their experiences in a way that feels right for them, and that the information collected is useful for services to identify and action improvements”. 

The response from health services has been positive, and feedback from the engagements being led by Eastern Health indicate the partnership approach is already paying dividends. 

Katrina Lewis, Director of Patient Experience and Consumer Engagement at Alfred Health, noted the benefit of peer-to-peer engagement. 

“There is shared understanding when engaging with another health service,” Ms Lewis said. 

“They have experience collecting, analysing, and responding to feedback. Sharing our well embedded and mature feedback systems and processes provides an opportunity to reflect the vast amounts of consumer feedback we gather and respond to, and on ways we can enhance and build on this work”. 

VAHI CEO, Dr Lance Emerson, said that this partnership model will increase the knowledge base on which future reforms will be based, and leverages the vast experience that sits within health services.

“It’s really great to have such a knowledgeable and engaged partner in Eastern Health.“

“These consultations deliver critical input from the sector to inform future directions. Having the active involvement of the sector will strengthen the redesign on the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey and improve how we implement new feedback platforms,” said Dr Emerson.

For more information about the project, or to get involved, contact Sarah Noad, Senior Project Officer, Consumer Experience, Outcomes and Safety ([email protected]) or Lou Coleman, Project Lead, Consumer Voice Statewide Implementation Project ([email protected]).