Quality use of medicines

The Commission undertakes projects and programs to support the safe and quality use of medicines.

Review of national quality use of medicines publications


The Commission has been engaged by the Australian Government Department of Health to review and update the following national Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) publications:

The QUM and medicines safety landscape has evolved since these guiding principles were originally published. The review and update of these documents will consider contemporary QUM and medicines safety literature. Stakeholder feedback on common areas will be reflected across all three national QUM publications.

The review and update of the three national QUM publications will be completed by March 2022.

Consultation now open

The public consultation for the Guiding principles to achieve continuity in medication management is now open until 20 December 2021.

A consultation paper has been developed to guide you through the proposed recommendations for updating the Guiding Principles.

A survey has been developed and will lead you through a series of questions for you to provide your comments.

Please submit your feedback via the survey by 20 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.