What is VHIMS and why is it important?

The Victorian Health Incident Management System (VHIMS) is a standardised dataset for the collection and classification of clinical, occupational health and safety (OH&S) incidents, near misses, hazards and consumer feedback.

VHIMS was established in 2009 by the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department). The Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) took over responsibility for VHIMS in 2017. VAHI now coordinates VHIMS in collaboration with the Department, Safer Care Victoria (SCV) and importantly, Victorian public health services.

Incident and feedback information collected in VHIMS helps to drive local and statewide improvements in quality, safety and patient experience.

What is the reform journey that we have been on?

Incident reporting is important as it provides an accurate picture of where systems and processes are working well, in addition to highlighting opportunities for improvement.

Victorian public health services need a system that is quick, easy to use and captures complete and accurate information. The performance of the initial system introduced in 2009 was slow and it was not easy to use. Nor did it enable sharing of accurate information for statewide reporting.

In 2017, VAHI announced key VHIMS reforms to the sector as follows, noting progress to date:

  • VHIMS Central Solution (CS): To replace the previous VHIMS Central arrangements (used by 39 predominantly small Victorian public and community health services), an ‘in-house built system’ was jointly developed by VAHI and the Department. The new VHIMS CS was implemented in June 2019. For more information, click here.
  • The new VHIMS Minimum Data Set (VHIMS MDS): A new minimum dataset to collect clinical, occupational health and safety (OH&S) incidents, near misses and hazards was developed by VAHI in collaboration with the sector and key stakeholders. The new VHIMS MDS was released to Victorian public health services in June 2019. All Victorian public health services were required to submit the new VHIMS MDS by 31 December 2021. For more information on the VHIMS MDS, click here.
  • VHIMS MDS Manual: The VHIMS MDS manual was published in March 2022. The manual provides incident reporters and users of the data with a complete dataset resource including:
    • definitions of data items;
    • information and business rules regarding data recording and transmission;
    • contact details for support related to the VHIMS MDS.
  • Statewide tender for suppliers of incident management systems: For the remaining Victorian public health services, VAHI and the Department have established a panel of suppliers. Victorian public health services also have the option to remain with their existing vendor or implement their own bespoke or an off-the-shelf product, as long as the VHIMS MDS can be submitted to VAHI by Application Programming Interface (API) technology. For more information on the appointed suppliers, click here.

VAHI has been working over the past three years with an advisory group that is made up of Victorian public health service chief executives, directors of medical services, quality directors and interstate experts. VAHI is grateful to the advisory group and the many representatives from Victorian public health services and the health sector more generally, who have contributed their valuable insights and time to the VHIMS program of reforms.

For more information on VHIMS, please email [email protected].