The Better Care Victoria (BCV) Innovation Fund, which operated from 2016 to 2020, was established by the Victorian Government to increase access and improve the quality of public healthcare for Victorians.
The fund did this by supporting health services to find new, more efficient and effective ways to deliver healthcare, with a focus on patient-centred innovations.
The fund also spread and embedded innovative practice and improvement across the Victorian health system, and fostered environments to sustain positive change by developing leadership skills and capability in the health workforce.
It aimed to:
- shine a light on successful innovation, promoting and sharing best practice across Victoria to improve patient access, experience and outcomes
- facilitate partnerships, bringing together the right people and resources to build, spread and embed the skills required for system innovation and improvement
- support healthcare providers to develop a culture that prioritised best practice in innovation and developed leadership capability across the health system
- support an environment that encouraged new ideas, and create space to fail safely and share knowledge and lessons learnt.
Areas of work
The BCV Innovation Fund was distributed to support a range of projects and programs that identified, spread and embedded innovation effectively within Victoria's health system.
- helping health services to realise their innovation projects
- spreading successful projects through the health system so more Victorians could benefit
- facilitating improvement partnerships between health services
- delivering leadership and capability development programs for the health workforce
- supporting digital startup solutions to healthcare challenges.
Browse our improvement projects, including those the BCV Innovation Fund has supported.
The BCV Innovation Fund supported novel and game-changing ideas, concepts and solutions from health services via an annual innovation program.
Successful health service applicants received funding and a variety of support to help them deliver their goals and objectives, including:
- a dedicated coach and contact within SCV
- a tailored capability building program, which supported successful project delivery while also providing an opportunity to gain new knowledge and share learnings
- access to tools, templates and guidance materials
- collaboration and partnership support.
The fund also spread successful projects and provided support to sustain project efforts and embed them into ‘business as usual’.
Spreading successful projects
Part of the BCV Innovation Fund’s mission was to scale, spread and embed innovative practices and improvements across the state’s health system so that more Victorians could benefit.
The World Health Organization defines scaling up as 'deliberate efforts to increase the impact of successfully tested health interventions to benefit more people and foster policy and program development on a lasting basis' (2007).
The fund invested in the scaling and spreading of projects that had proven effective, extending them to multiple health services or across regions. Projects selected for spreading were assessed against specific criteria, and were supported by a centralised team that shared learnings from the initiative across the Victorian health system.
The BCV Innovation Fund’s improvement partnerships brought together health service teams from across Victoria to collaborate on sustainable and continuous improvement in focus areas such as patient access and flow and specialist clinics.
The health services learned from each other, identified problems and developed ideas together, and tested and evaluated solutions. They were supported by industry coaches, who are recognised experts in improvement science.
These partnerships aimed to create widespread impact on access to healthcare, demonstrating measurable change in key performance areas.
Supporting digital startup solutions
The BCV Innovation Fund has sponsored health services’ participation in the CivVic Labs accelerator program, supporting them to work with digital startups to develop tailored solutions for healthcare problems.
CivVic Labs, which was launched in 2019 and is led by LaunchVic in partnership with the Victorian Government’s Public Sector Innovation Fund, brings government and digital startups together to solve public sector challenges. Existing products and services are not always able to fulfil government requirements and needs, and digital startups can offer a different perspective and expertise in emerging digital technology.
In 2019, the BCV Innovation Fund sponsored two health challenges in the first CivVic Labs round:
- How to better capture and incorporate patient-reported measures into clinical practice: Western Health and its selected startup, WeGuide, co-designed a platform that makes collecting healthcare data easier for the clinician to incorporate into their patient care.
- How to reduce hospital-acquired complications (HACs): St Vincent's Hospital and its selected startup, Sky Ledge, co-designed a service model that can predict and pre-empt patients at risk of delirium, with potential for wider applicability to other HACs.
In 2020, the BCV Innovation Fund partially funded a global partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services’ International Health division and IKP Knowledge Park, an accelerator program in India. The partnership is running a health challenge to improve infection prevention and management.
How it started
The BCV Innovation Fund was a key component of the Victorian Government's response to the Travis Review.
The Travis Review, undertaken by former Australian Medical Association President Dr Douglas Travis, recommended ways to improve the capacity of Victoria's health system.
It highlighted that innovation is vital to the future of Victoria's public health system. Finding new, more efficient and more effective ways to deliver healthcare is key to providing better access to public health services and better quality of care to Victorian patients.
The Travis Review made a specific recommendation and emphasised the requirement for investment to spread innovation that had already been proven at a local level. Current investment in healthcare innovation has seen successful innovation projects achieve productivity and performance improvements at a local level, but the impacts are typically not replicated or spread across the state.
The BCV Innovation Fund provided a central innovation support and knowledge-sharing mechanism, bringing Victoria in line with leading practice approaches across Australia and internationally. It focused and prioritised initiatives and offered greater sponsorship and support to ensure better quality of care and access to care for all Victorians.
The BCV Innovation Fund was governed by the independent Better Care Victoria Board and administered by SCV.
The BCV Board consisted of 12 members with expertise across a broad range of areas, including medical research, public health, leadership, consumer engagement, and rural and regional health services.
It actively engaged with the health sector and healthcare consumers, and received expert advice from two advisory committees: the Consumer Advisory Committee and the Emerging Leaders Clinical Advisory Committee.
Using these insights, the board advised the Victorian Minister for Health on how to prioritise BCV Innovation Fund investments in projects and programs to support effective innovation and improvement in healthcare.