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VICTORIAN MANAGED INSURANCE AUTHORITY 

Research and Innovation Program

In March 2017, BehaviourWorks Australia and The Shannon Company joined forces with the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) to develop and deliver a three-year $1.5 million Research and Innovation Program.


As the Victorian Government’s insurer and risk adviser, VMIA supports Victorian public health services and hospitals to improve patient safety by helping to understand and manage the issues that lead to claims. Supporting research and harm prevention initiatives is part of that approach.


Research agenda

The Research and Innovation Program aims to unpack and address issues that lead to preventable medical errors. 


Led by BehaviourWorks Australia researchers, A/Prof Peter Bragge and Dr Breanna Wright, the initiative investigates how human behaviour – the way health workers think and act – can impact patient outcomes.


The overarching aim of the program is to create, synthesise and translate research knowledge and evidence into policies, practices, processes and tools for use in public Victorian healthcare facilities.


Priority areas

The program commenced with consultations and in-depth engagement with VMIA, the Department of Health and Human Services and health professionals working across the sector.

From this, BehaviourWorks was able to identify six priority areas and six targeted, evidence-based interventions to trial across the health system between 2017 and 2019 – read more about these trials opposite.


The BehaviourWorks Method

The Research and Innovation Program is among the first to test the application of the BehaviourWorks Method from end to end. 


Consisting of three primary phases – Exploration, Deep Dive and Application – The Method is used to gather evidence on the behaviour change approaches that are most likely to work.


While a wide range of organisations use specific research services featured in The Method (e.g., Rapid Reviews), to date few organisations have explored the full potential of The Method in addressing complex health challenges.

The Shannon Company

The Research and Innovation Program also involves a collaboration with the specialist behaviour change communications company, The Shannon Company. 


The Shannon Company has developed compelling intervention materials, as well as video and print content, to engage health services staff to participate in the program.  


Six novel trials


The Research and Innovation Program comprises six trials, with a seventh separately-funded Misdiagnosis Trial also underway.


Each intervention is being thoroughly evaluated for its potential to support hospitals to prevent harm and improve the patient experience.

TRIAL 1 - SEEKING A SECOND OPINION

This trial tested the effectiveness of a Rapid Diagnosis Discussion tool in preventing misdiagnosis. The tool required doctors to seek a second opinion by asking a series of structured questions. 

TRIAL 2 - GETTING BOARDS ON BOARD

This trial tested the feasibility and effectiveness of using simulation-based training for improving health service board members’ skills in communicating effectively during board meetings.  
 

TRIAL 3 - EMPOWERING PATIENTS TO ASK QUESTIONS

This trial tested the feasibility of a notepad-based intervention to encourage and empower patients to ask questions about their care. 

TRIAL 4 - ESCALATION OF PATIENT CARE

This trial will involve an interactive training video, in which participants must decide what to do at key junctures when dealing with a deteriorating patient.

TRIAL 5 - MAKING INTER-HOSPITAL TRANSFERS SMOOTHER

This trial will determine how patient transfer calls can be made in a manner that optimises their effectiveness and efficiency. 

TRIAL 6 - INFORMED CONSENT

This trial will focus on providing guidance about the behaviours that should occur during an informed consent discussion and will use peer review as an opportunity for feedback.
Separately-funded trial

TRIAL 7 - CLOSING THE LOOP ON TEST RESULTS

Ensuring that test results are communicated between clinicians is a key part of the diagnostic process. Many health services are looking for new ways to improve communication using new technology, such as apps. This trial will look at the usability and impact of the MyBeepr app as a method for improving communication.