Investing in behavioural research to improve patient safety

31 May 2017

A partnership between the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) and BehaviourWorks Australia is delivering a new $1.5 million Patient Safety Research and Innovation Program to improve patient safety in public healthcare.

The three-year program will translate 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.

The research can be expected to benefit patients who may suffer preventable harm while being hospitalised through improving systems and processes using behavioural change techniques.

Researching behavioural enablers and barriers will provide better understanding of the risk factors and challenges in public health and prioritise areas for improvement.

Targeted, evidence-based interventions will be implemented across the State in all areas of the public healthcare system. Initial work will focus on documenting world-leading research and healthcare practices to identify the best opportunities for improvements to Victorian health services.

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

Other harm preventive initiatives supported by VMIA investment have had a measurable impact on patients and patient families. For example, the introduction of a multi-professional obstetrics training program (PROMPT) and foetal surveillance have resulted in fewer incidents for mothers and their new babies.

BehaviourWorks Australia is a leading behaviour change research enterprise within the Monash Sustainable Development Institute at Monash University.

Quotes attributable to VMIA Chief Executive, Colin Radford

"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.”

Quotes attributable to Associate Professor Liam Smith, director of BehaviourWorks Australia

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to be involved in this newly launched program. Translating research into practice is a key goal for many academics, and we are looking forward to working in partnership with VMIA to use current behaviour change approaches to deliver meaningful outcomes in health and research.”

Media contact: Andrew Drever, Communications Adviser, Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA), on (03) 9270 6946 or

Page last updated: 3 January 2019