Quality use of medicines

This page provides information about the various projects and programs undertaken by the Commission to support the safe and quality use of medicines.

Review of national quality use of medicines publications

In March 2021, the Australian Government Department of Health (the Department) engaged the Commission to review and update two national quality use of medicines (QUM) publications relevant to the National Medicines Policy:

The Commission will work in consultation with the Department and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to review these publications. The project will be tailored to the aged care context, drawing on the relevant requirements under the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Aged Care Quality Standards.

The review process will be informed by a literature review and environmental scan, analysis of contextual documents and consultation with a broad range of stakeholders.

In addition, findings from Australia’s response to the WHO Global patient safety challenge: Medication without harm, as well as from the recent consultation on QUM and Medicines Safety, will provide useful insight and guidance.

To assist in the review and update of these QUM publications, the Commission will be establishing a project advisory group to provide technical and strategic advice to inform the project.

The review and finalisation of the revised quality use of medicines publications will be completed by 24 December 2021.

Quality use of Medicines and Medicines Safety

In November 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council made Quality Use of Medicines and Medicines Safety the 10th National Health Priority Area. The Commission was subsequently engaged to develop a national baseline report on the Quality Use of Medicines and Medicines Safety, with an initial focus on aged care. To assist in the development of this report, the Commission sought input from clinicians, consumers, carers, service providers and other stakeholders in the aged care sector to inform the development of the report. The Quality Use of Medicines and Medicines Safety Discussion Paper was published in support of the public consultation which was held between August and October 2020.

The Discussion Paper focussed on polypharmacy, use of antipsychotic medicines and transitions of care in aged care. Stakeholders were asked to consider four key questions in relation to these focus areas:

  • What is considered best practice in 2020?
    • What works and should be done more?
    • What doesn’t work and should be done less?
  • What are the system-wide challenges that need to be addressed?
  • What are the gaps in current processes that inhibit achieving positive patient outcomes/best practice?
  • How should we monitor progress towards quality and safe use of medicines in hospital patients who are residents in aged care facilities?

'Phase 1 - Aged Care' of the National Baseline Report on Quality Use of Medicines and Medicines Safety will be published on the Commission's website when finalised in 2021.

National Indicators for Quality Use of Medicines in Australian Hospitals

The National Indicators for Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) in Australian Hospitals 2014 support measurement of safety and quality of medicines use for quality improvement purposes, and to help health services to drive changes in healthcare practice. The indicators have been designed for local use.

Development of the national QUM indicators 2014

The Commission engaged the NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group to revise the Indicators for Quality Use of Medicines in Australian Hospitals 2007 and develop new indicators for mental health and continuity of care. The revised indicators include:

  • 30 revised indicators from 2007 QUM indicator set
  • 2 indicators to measure the accuracy of medicines information communicated at discharge from hospital
  • 5 indicators for acute mental health services.

Hospital QUM indicator set

The indicator set is accompanied by data collection tools for each indicator, enabling local results reporting and review.

All the indicators have been mapped to the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.

The QUM indicators can be downloaded as a set or as individual indicators.

Publication, report or update

Publication, report or update

Publication, report or update

QUM data collection tools

The data collection tools and user guide are available from the NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group.