The Victorian Agency for Health Information was established to monitor and report on public and private hospitals and health services.

The Agency was created in 2017 as part of Victorian Government reforms to overhaul quality and safety across Victoria's healthcare system. 

By analysing and sharing information across Victoria's healthcare system, we will build an accurate picture of hospital and health service performance. Our initiatives will enhance the flow of timely, accurate and meaningful information to those responsible for health service oversight including health service boards, management and clinicians.

We produce regular reports for health services to monitor safety and performance by looking at data such as rates of potentially preventable infections and readmissions. Health services can see their performance against targets and compare it to similar health services.

We also collect and report on patients' experiences of Victoria's public health services and will produce public reports following specialist investigations.

This increased access to information will stimulate quality and safety improvements and increase transparency and accountability. It will also inform the Victorian community, providing patients and carers with meaningful and useful information about care in their local area.

Dr Lance Emerson, Chief Executive Officer

Dr Emerson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI). Lance has a passion for development and maintenance of information systems to improve consumer care, and has a PhD is use of clinical indicators to guide better care and improve health outcomes. He has extensive experience in running health focused organisations, being the previous CEO of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and prior to that, CEO of The Australian Research and Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY). Lance works with the VAHI team to drive improved safety and quality in Victorian health services through the provision of high quality health service performance information.

Our context

Following the discovery of a cluster of avoidable perinatal deaths, the Minister for Health commissioned a review of hospital safety and quality assurance in Victoria. The result of that review was published in Targeting zero: supporting the Victorian hospital system to eliminate avoidable harm and strengthen quality of care in October 2016. 

The review found that while Victorian hospitals deliver some of the best care in the world, there was not adequate oversight of quality and safety across health services. 

Targeting zero found that essential data was often not collected, used, or made accessible to hospitals and clinicians so they could identify opportunities for improvement. The review recommended the creation of a reporting agency to improve the flow of information in the health system. 

In Better, safer care: delivering a world-leading healthcare system, the Victorian Government accepted in principle all of the review's recommendations, establishing a new vision for quality and safety in Victoria's health system. 

In June 2017 the Victorian Agency for Health Information was established as an Administrative Office in relation to the Department of Health and Human Services. Consistent with the recommendations in Targeting zero, the Agency performs its functions independently of the Department and with a view to best practice.

In October 2017 the Minister for Health provided the Agency with a Statement of Expectations, which sets out her expectations of the Agency in relation to the Victorian Government's commitments to ensuring that all Victorians, irrespective of their economic circumstances, receive world-class health care.

How we work

The Victorian Agency for Health Information is unique in Australia in that it was established as a specialist agency dedicated to serving all audiences – including the Victorian community, and those responsible for oversight, transparency, accountability and improvements in services dedicated to improving health and wellbeing.

We will ensure that data and information on the performance of Victoria's public healthcare system are readily available to: 

  • health service boards, chief executives and lead clinicians
  • the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Safer Care Victoria
  • other government agencies
  • the public and researchers.

Working with the Department of Health and Human Services

The Agency was established in July 2017 as an Administrative Office in relation to the Department of Health and Human Services under Section 11 of the Public Administration Act 2004 (the Act). It operates as part of the Victorian Government and, under Section 14(1) of the Act, the Chief Executive Officer is responsible to the Department's Secretary for the general conduct and effective management of the functions and activities of the Administrative Office. Consistent with the recommendations in Targeting zero, the Agency performs its functions independently of the Department.

The Agency's vision reflects the government's vision for the Agency as set out in Better, safer care, and its values also reflect those of the Department. Our corporate plan includes initiatives assigned to the Agency in the Department of Health and Human Services' strategic plan. The Agency will inform and, where relevant, support the work of the Department, health and ambulance services by monitoring and reporting on public and private services.

Working with Safer Care Victoria

In order to achieve the strategic objectives and outcomes outlined in the Corporate plan, the Agency will collaborate with and support the work of Safer Care Victoria. Safer Care Victoria is another new Administrative Office that resulted from recommendations in Targeting zero. Safer Care Victoria will rely, in part, on the performance information produced by the Agency. At the same time, the impact of the Agency's information on health services will often be influenced by Safer Care Victoria.