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Posted on 05 May 2021
Patient experience and outcomes

During Patient Experience week last week, the Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI), in partnership with Safer Care Victoria (SCV) and the Department of Health (the Department), hosted a webinar to support the recent release of the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) Specialist Clinics Insight report. The report captured the experiences of over 42,000 adult and paediatric specialist clinics patients between 2016 and 2019.

The webinar, attended by 83 Victorian public and community health service representatives, outlined key findings from the report and identified initiatives to assist health services to action improvement opportunities. The provision of medicines information was highlighted as it was identified in the report as an area of high variation – this suggests Victorian patients have had inconsistent experiences between health services and there is an opportunity for the sector to learn from services who are currently doing well.

Analysis presented by VAHI and our survey partner, Ipsos, emphasised the importance of medicines information to patient experience and outcomes ‒ patients who received written medicines information had greater trust and confidence in doctors, greater involvement in decisions about care, and were more likely to say care improved their health and wellbeing. Discussion of results also highlighted equity challenges in relation to the provision of medicines information. Women and patients with long standing health conditions were significantly less likely to have received information about new or changed medicines, suggesting these groups should be a focus of quality improvement initiatives (see below).

Percentage of patients who received written or printed information about their new medicines

54% of women

59% of men

73% of patients who needed help understanding English

55% of patients who did not need help understanding English

53% of patients with a long standing health condition

58% of patients without a long standing health condition


Presentations from Monash Health and SCV identified several initiatives that health services can implement to support more effective provision of medicines information to patients. Results from the VHES indicate Monash Health have significantly improved how they provide medicines information to patients in specialist clinics over the past few years. This has coincided with the integration of pharmacists into specialist clinics, improvements to the quality and accessibility of written medicines information materials, and implementation of structured communication techniques such as “Teach-back”.

The webinar concluded with updates from the Department on reforms to specialist clinic referral criteria, which are aimed to improve patient access – an important element of patient experience – and from VAHI on the redesign of the VHES Specialist Clinic survey to improve its actionability.

A big thank you to our presenters ‒ Julia Knapp from Ipsos, Wendy Ewing from Monash Health, Lidia Horvat from Safer Care Victoria and Karen O’Leary from the Department of Health ‒ and to everyone who attended the webinar for helping us create such an interesting and engaging event.

If you missed out, a video of the event is available. If would like to learn more about the report or program, please contact Anna Ezzy, Manager, Patient Experience and Outcomes, via

Page last updated: 05 May 2021