decorativeWhat is the Program

VMIA has funded a three-year Research and Innovation Program, aimed at improving patient safety in public healthcare with contemporary and innovative behavioural approaches. The program is being delivered through a partnership between VMIA and BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash University. The approach applies the premise that most problems, including complex challenges that lead to Medical Indemnity claims, can be at least partially addressed with greater awareness of the behaviours that cause them.

Researchers are developing the methodology and bespoke tools to unpack problems, identify behavioural solutions, understand behavioural drivers, and design, test and embed innovative solutions.

The research agenda was developed through a rigorous prioritisation process, engaging a wide range of Victorian healthcare stakeholders, including DHHS and SCV.

What’s next?

Three topics have already been identified:

  • Improving the questions that board members ask to ensure patient safety.
  • Misdiagnosis in emergency departments.
  • Using the patient voice during healthcare interactions to reduce harm.

Pilot sites from across Victoria will be chosen to understand whether behavioural interventions can improve patient safety.

Additionally, we have recently conducted a survey of nearly 800 health stakeholders to ask them what their priorities were in this area. This list will be further distilled by sending over 60 topics to be prioritised by VMIA clients.

Please let us know how you think patient harm prevention initiatives could be translated into behaviour change. Please email Gabby Fennessy with your suggestions at

Page last updated: 23 February 2018