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What you will learn

This module promotes the safe management of anticoagulants, a commonly used group of high risk medicines.


This module is intended for all health care staff involved in the management of high risk medicines, specifically anticoagulants.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module you will be able to:

  • explain what anticoagulants are
  • explain why anticoagulants are high risk medicines
  • recognise differences between anticoagulants
  • describe the signs and symptoms of bleeding
  • discuss common types of errors with anticoagulants and common contributing factors
  • identify key strategies to promote safe use of anticoagulants
  • describe resources and tools available to help in the safe management of anticoagulants.

About this module

Target Audience

This module is intended for all healthcare staff involved in the management of high risk medicines.


The module is designed to take around half an hour to complete.


On successful completion of the assessments you can download a certificate of completion.


This module aligns with the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, Second Edition – Standards 1, 2, 4 & 6.

Clinical Governance Standard: Ticked Partnering with Consumers Standard: Ticked Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard Medication Safety Standard: Ticked Comprehensive Care Standard Communication for Safety Standard: Ticked Blood Management Standard Recognising and Responding to Acute Deterioration Standard


This module content was developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and is protected by copyright under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike (BY-NC-ND) 4.0 International License.

The content is provided in good faith by the Commission for information purposes. It is not a substitute for, and is not intended to replace, any specific policies, guidelines or requirements for your local health network or health service.

The Commission does not accept any legal liability or responsibility for any injury, loss or damage incurred by the use of, or reliance on, this information.

Course release dates

October 2015 First released.


Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care:, including:

NPS MedicineWise:

  • provides evidence based information on medicines for consumers and health professionals, including ‘Anticoagulant medicines
  • provides online learning resources including on Medication Safety and the National Inpatient Medication Chart

Medication Safety Self Assessment for Antithrombotic Therapy in Australian Hospitals at:

  • designed to heighten awareness of safe use of antithrombotic agents; and create a baseline of efforts to enhance safety with these agents and evaluate these efforts over time.

National QUM Indicators for Australian Hospitals Set 1: Antithrombotic therapy at:

  • process indicators to measure quality use of antithrombotic therapy.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices:

For further resources on high risk medicines, see the Introduction to High Risk Medicines
e-learning course.


Content team

Medicines and Technology Branch (MTP), SA Health:

  • Naomi Burgess, Director
  • Anita Abarno, Senior Pharmacist, Medication Safety
  • Kaye Barratt, Senior Pharmacist, Medicines Programs

SA Health would also like to acknowledge and thank the following:

  • Carolyn Field, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Kirsty Scarborough, Central Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Kerrie Westaway, Medical Writer, Sansom Institute, University of South Australia (previously Senior Project Officer, Medication Safety, Medicines and Technology Policy and Programs, SA Health)
  • Royal Adelaide Hospital Pharmacy Department
  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital Pharmacy Department
  • Members of the Anticoagulant Toolkit Working Group and reviewers of the Anticoagulant Toolkit

Module structure