As the financial year comes to an end, I’d like to take the opportunity to recognise the significant amount of research ISCRR has delivered and facilitated in partnership with WorkSafe Victoria and our academic networks over the past 12 months. A total of 12 projects have been completed, with a further 18 underway, and over 115 outputs and presentations delivered. Our staff have remained flexible and adaptable as we emerge from Victoria’s fourth lockdown, and their unyielding support for each other has been truly admirable.

We currently have nine projects underway in our external research program, most of which were commissioned by WorkSafe Victoria through their new Register of Research Providers. Coming to an end is the systems-thinking project led by Sharon Newnam, Associate Professor (Research) at The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC). This project developed and piloted a prototype systems-thinking toolkit for investigating incidents of work-related violence and aggression in City Councils.

We’re also working with Associate Professor Jodi Oakman, head of the Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors at La Trobe University. Jodi is leading an evaluation of online procedures to manage the risk of both musculoskeletal and stress-related mental health disorders in the workplace.

There are also a number of internal evaluation projects underway, including two evaluations linked to the WorkSafe Victoria Clinical Services Redesign Program.

The Clinical Hotline Pilot aims to design and test a hotline phone platform for Agents and Treating Health Practitioners to directly access WorkSafe Victoria Clinical Panel support for informal queries in a timely manner. It will be evaluated for effectiveness from the perspective of the Treating Health Practitioners, Agents and Hotline Clinicians.

The Clinical Review Panel Pilot aims to inform best practice pathways for treatment, recovery, and return-to-work for injured workers through a new model of in-house multidisciplinary panel reviews. Its effectiveness will be evaluated from the perspective of participating Agent teams, the Treating Health Practitioners involved in the panel reviews, and the WorkSafe Victoria clinicians leading the reviews.

Coming to an end in August 2021 is our Literature Review on the ‘Best Practices for Person-Centred Case Management’. WorkSafe Victoria is developing a new Service Model that aligns with Victorian government’s objective of designing and providing human-centred services. WorkSafe Victoria seeks to improve insurance case management by implementing a person-centred case management system to help manage the recovery of injured workers.

The Literature Review aims to identify contemporary best practice case management aligned to individual needs, case manager capabilities, and benchmarking best practice in case management. The findings will be used to inform decision making regarding WorkSafe Victoria’s new program.

ISCRR has also started conducting workshops to build capacity in evaluation skills. Dr Janine McMillan and Dr Sarah Oxford from our research team have been conducting evaluation workshops to assist WorkSafe Victoria groups develop program logic models.

There’s always a full program of exciting research and translation activity happening at ISCRR and we have an excellent team to meet the needs of our partners. We recently welcomed Belinda Clark to the Research Team and are very pleased to have her on board.

Looking ahead to the next financial year, we have a number of new research projects in the pipeline to address current and emerging priorities in injury prevention and recovery. We look forward to continuing to deliver and support applied research that makes a difference – supporting injured workers return to health and keeping workplaces safe and healthy.

Samantha Barker

Director, ISCRR (Monash University)