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12 May 2021
May '21

Consumer engagement toolkit hits big numbers

  • VCCC Alliance
  • St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

10,000 views support interest in consumer engagement

Since launching in late 2019, the VCCC consumer engagement web-based toolkit has become a popular resource, with a total of 10,000 views recorded to-date. The toolkit assists people to understand and implement consumer engagement processes and practice within their own organisations.  

Ten thousand views are just one measure of success for the toolkit.

It also represents a shift in how consumer engagement can occur in Victorian research institutes, hospitals, and health sector organisations by raising awareness of best practice, and providing educational resources. Users are encouraged to review a broad range of guidelines and templates which they can adapt according to their own requirements.

St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne remunerates clinical governance committee members

The toolkit has prompted new ways of working with consumers. St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne introduced remuneration for clinical governance committees based on a model demonstrated in the toolkit.

Remuneration as a form of financial recognition for consumer representatives is something the health sector has wrestled with for some time. The economic cost is a major consideration - but how and why consumers interact with services is also complex. As health systems more readily adopt the principles of patient-centred care, consumers are being invited to play a greater role in communicating their needs, values and lived experience.  

“The VCCC alliance remuneration model gave me something formal – a precedent,” says Denise Reynolds, Corporate and Support Quality Coordinator at St Vincent’s.

“The VCCC alliance remuneration model gave me
something formal – a precedent,”

“It is essential to have support from the top. Our initiative came directly from Angela Nolan, Chief Executive of the hospital and is well supported by our Executive Director and Quality and Risk Manager.”

Denise has a frontline role as the Community Advisory Committee Resource Officer for St Vincent’s. “We’re beginning with something we know we can achieve by introducing a cost model applying to defined groups,” she says. “For now, these are our key executive and clinical governance committees.

“We have also identified the many health consumer representation roles at St Vincent’s and the recommended remuneration per hour or as an overall sitting fee. 

"This is a good outcome," says Dr Joanne Britto, VCCC Manager, Consumer Involvement. "Many organisations, including our own may not formally capture the level to which consumer engagement is taking place. Having this information is extremely useful.

"We developed remuneration procedures to report on various levels of participation and it powerfully informs our strategic direction." 

Denise agrees, “We are thrilled to have implemented this program which has been in place since July last year. It is fulfilling to have built something from the ground up. As well as the financial aspect, we needed to be clear in our communications and have created resources, based on examples in the toolkit, including a frequently asked questions sheet for staff and consumers. I have also had other hospitals speak with me about it.

“Our consumer committee members are appreciative, and for us, it is a tangible way of saying thank you. I’m more than happy to speak with anyone who is considering implementing a consumer remuneration program. My experience has been that you have got to start somewhere.”

For more information, contact Dr Joanne Britto, VCCC Manager, Consumer Involvement e: joanne.britto@unimelb.edu.au