What is it?
MH ECO is an exciting new initiative in mental health service quality improvement activities funded by the Victorian Government Department of Health. The Initiative commenced in 2006 and is based on the recommendations of the Review of the 2003—2004 Victorian surveys of consumer and carer experience of public mental health services. The Initiative moved away from rating the satisfaction of consumers and carers to eliciting their experiences. The satisfaction rating had minimal impact on service quality improvement, whereas consumer and carer experience of mental health services provides concrete evidence that can be readily translated into meaningful service quality improvement activities.
One of the main characteristics of the Initiative is that it represents an effective model of high level consumer and carer participation with the primary researchers themselves having the lived experience as consumers and carers. While gathering experiences of consumers and carers is the first step, using this information to improve mental health services is the fundamental focus of the Initiative.
MH ECO applies the most recent theory and practice of Experience-Based Design in health service quality improvement. The core of this approach involves engaging consumers, carers and service providers to actively work together to co-design the services with a strong commitment to change and improvement. This Initiative is well supported by all stakeholders, and has been drafted into the strategic plan of the Victorian mental health reform, which is gaining national and international attention.
Promoting partnerships in service quality improvement activities