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Behavioural research investment to improve patient safety

In March 2017, BehaviourWorks Australia and the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) joined forces to develop and deliver a $1.5m Patient Safety Research and Innovation Program to improve patient safety in public healthcare.

The VMIA provides risk advice and insurance services for the Victorian Government and works with more than 4,300 clients, including government departments, health centres, community service organisations and tertiary institutions to improve the quality of life for the Victorian community.

The new three-year program, which will initially be based on a series of stakeholder forums, seeks to translate evidence-based research into practice and focuses on improving outcomes for patients through the development and implementation of new processes and tools for use in Victorian healthcare facilities.

Initial work will focus on documenting world-leading research and healthcare practices to identify the best opportunities for improvements to Victorian health services.

The researchers will then seek to investigate behavioural enablers and barriers to provide a better understanding of the risk factors and challenges in public health and prioritise areas for improvement (i.e. systems and processes).

Targeted interventions

Targeted, evidence-based interventions will then be implemented across Victoria in all areas of the public healthcare system.

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The program highlights government commitment to continuous improvement in our healthcare system for the benefit of Victorian patients and their families.


“We are thrilled with the opportunity to be involved in this newly-launched program,” said BehaviourWorks Australia Director, Associate Professor Liam Smith.


“Translating research into practice is a key goal for many academics and we’re looking forward to working in partnership with VMIA to use current behaviour change approaches to deliver meaningful outcomes in health and research.”


VMIA Chief Executive, Colin Radford, added: “As the State’s insurer, VMIA is pleased to be investing in initiatives to prevent and reduce harm to Victorian families.


“Our commitment to this research program allows us to draw on the expertise of academics, healthcare professionals and the insurance industry to make a real difference.”