Population health
08 December 2022
Population health

In 2019, responsibility for population-level surveillance of non-communicable diseases and their determinants in Victoria moved to VAHI from the Department of Health and Human Services. With the move, VAHI assumed responsibility for the Victorian Population Health Survey (VPHS) and other surveillance reports.

Population health surveillance is the ongoing systematic collection, assembly, analysis, and interpretation of population health data, and the communication of the information derived from these data. Information collected about the health status of the Victorian population is used to inform policy development and assist planning efforts to improve health services. This population-level information will allow VAHI to provide a fuller picture of Victoria’s health.

VAHI collects population health data through large-scale population surveys. Health surveys are important tools to identify, capture and manage a growing evidence base for health. Measuring the health of the Victorian population helps build the evidence on how the work of health services, the Department and the health system as whole, impacts the lives of Victorians.

Victorian Population Health Survey

The Victorian Population Health Survey (VPHS) has been conducted each year since 2001. Information from the survey provides an annual assessment of the health status and wellbeing of adults living in Victoria and provides data for key population health indicators. 

Information is collected via computer assisted telephone interview on overall self-rated health status, level of psychological distress, body mass index (to determine weight status), the presence of chronic diseases, nutrition, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Information is also collected on participation in screening for bowel cancer, breast cancer, high blood pressure, cholesterol and high blood sugar in addition to community participation, levels of social support and connections with others.

Interviews are also conducted in the major non-English languages in Victoria to ensure people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are included.

The survey findings are used to:

  • provide evidence to inform decisions about local priorities for municipal public health and wellbeing plans
  • inform planning in non-government health organisations
  • inform planning, reporting and decision making in the Department of Health & Human Services
  • measure trends over time for key health indicators such as diabetes, smoking prevalence and overweight and obesity.

More information about the VPHS prior to 2017 is available here.

International Health Policy Survey reports

The Commonwealth Fund’s annual International Health Policy Survey of 11 countries, including Australia, examines the health system through a global lens to identify opportunities for improvement. From the results of the survey, VAHI produces reports that compare the Victorian health system against other high-income countries, including the US.

You can find our report from the 2016 International Health Policy Survey, which investigates how Victoria's health system fares nationally and internationally, here.

Our report from the 2017 International Health Policy Survey, focused on older Victorians, is available here.

Victorian Health Information Surveillance System

The Victorian Health Information Surveillance System (VHISS) is an interactive self-serve system of population surveillance data. It includes data from the Victorian Population Health Survey, Burden of Disease study, Avoidable Mortality study and Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations study. Users can view data down to the local government area level.

Latest releases

The Victorian population health survey 2020 dashboard is now available.

The Victorian population health survey 2019 summary of findings and dashboard is now available.

The Victorian population health survey 2018 summary of findings and dashboard is now available.

Popular resources

Information for you

Victorian Population Health Survey

The Victorian Population Health Survey (VPHS) program was established in 1998 and collects information about the health, lifestyle and wellbeing of adult Victorians aged 18 years and over. The information is reported at state, regional and local government area levels to inform planning and policy development.

Victorian Health Information Surveillance System (VHISS)

This is an interactive website displaying data for five public health indicators:

  1. Burden of Disease,
  2. Avoidable Mortality,
  3. Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions / Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations,
  4. VPHS survey estimates,
  5. Life Expectancy.