The Improvement and Innovation Program builds Victoria’s health service capability to create, scale and embed significant health system improvements and innovations. It facilitates connections across the Victorian health services, and assists health services in tackling local access, efficiency and service quality challenges, as well as system-wide priorities.

The program focuses on strengthening the capability of the Victorian health services in building organisational systems and structures, workforce capability and development, along with culture and behaviours, to support a continuous improvement foundation for systematic innovation to build on.

Evolution of the program

Originally launched as the Redesigning Hospital Care Program (RHCP) in 2008, the program has led to a range of tangible improvements in patient care and organisational efficiency across wards, theatres, emergency departments, clinics, imaging and pathology services, hospital pharmacies, transport services and medical supply chains. As part of the program, staff within participating health services are supported to identify, implement, sustain and spread successful improvement and innovation work.

The management and oversight of the program shifted from the Department of Health and Human Services to Better Care Victoria (BCV) in 2016. The integration of BCV secretariat with Safer Care Victoria (SCV) in 2017 provided a great opportunity to broaden the scope of BCV and drive further integration of the improvement and quality agenda across Victoria. The program is overseen by the System Improvement, Innovation and Leadership branch of SCV. This team works with health services to deliver measureable improvements in the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of their organisations and across the Victorian health system.

The RHCP was reviewed in 2017 to explore the general program experience with, and the value of, the RHCP; contribution of the RHCP to the wider organisational improvement program; enablers and barriers to sustainability and scaling within organisations and on a system-level; and opportunities for the future direction of the RHCP. This review led to the re-launch of the RHCP as the Improvement and Innovation Program in the 2017-18 financial year.

Moving forward, the Improvement and Innovation Program has a renewed focus on aligning program initiatives to state-wide improvement priorities and concentrating efforts towards leading system level improvement, rather than single service improvement.

Program aims and objectives

Through partnerships fostered with Victorian health services participating in the Improvement and Innovation Program, BCV and SCV are working to enhance and champion an improvement and innovation culture across Victoria.

The aim of the Improvement and Innovation Program is to lead system-level improvement and innovation. Health services participating in the program contribute collaboratively to:

  • increase improvement and innovation capability benefitting their organisation and the health system; and
  • scale and embed successful improvement and innovation initiatives across their health service and the health system.

BCV and SCV support the Improvement and Innovation Program work to be:

  • coordinated – efforts not duplicated across the health system;
  • focused – concentrate efforts (directed) into priority areas for a larger system impact and isolated works will be connected to wider system priorities;
  • measured to demonstrate value collectively; and
  • disseminated – knowledge management via online platforms and collaborative networks and communities of practice to share successful ideas and solutions outside the individual health services.

Program details

In the 2017-18 financial year, funding is provided to 32 participating health services to support the engagement of one full-time Improvement and Innovation Advisor. Within each participating health service, an Executive Sponsor is nominated for the program, who supports the Advisor in the execution of their improvement and innovation role, and participates in executive leader forums on improvement and innovation. 

The role of the Advisor is to:

Advisors are expected to have a broad range of skills, knowledge and experience in the following capability mindsets and techniques:

As a key component of the program, where required, BCV and SCV provide a range of professional development opportunities to develop and support staff in the Advisor roles.

Participating health services in 2017-18

The following 32 Victorian health services are currently participating in the program:

Albury Wodonga Health Echuca Regional Health South West Healthcare
Alfred Health Goulburn Valley Health St Vincent's Health
Ambulance Victoria Latrobe Regional Hospital Swan Hill District Health
Austin Health Melbourne Health The Royal Children's Hospital
Bairnsdale Regional Health Service Mercy Health The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
Ballarat Health Services Mildura Base Hospital The Royal Women's Hospital
Barwon Health Monash Health West Gippsland Healthcare Group
Bass Coast Health Northeast Health Wangaratta Western District Health Service
Bendigo Health Northern Health Western Health
Central Gippsland Health Service Peninsula Health Wimmera Health Care Group
Eastern Health Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Organisational Strategy for Improvement Matrix (OSIM)

Each participating health service is required to complete the Organisational Strategy for Improvement Matrix (OSIM) self-assessment tool and process annually. OSIM, previously called the Health Improvement Capability Quotient (Health ICQ), is a capability measurement tool and process used to identify, measure and monitor organisational accelerators and barriers to improvement. In other words, it can help health services determine how supportive of improvement or 'change friendly' their organisation is at a point in time.

The OSIM toolkit is available for download here.

Need more information?

Email BCV at or call 03 9096 2761.