Under Review : March 2023

This module is currently under review and is expected to be updated late 2023.
Any purchases made now will also include access to the updated module for an additional 12 months, when this becomes available.

Introduction to High Risk Medicines

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What you will learn

This module is the first in a series about high risk medicines. The remaining modules will focus on particular groups of high risk medicines.

‘High risk medicines’ are medicines that have a heightened risk of causing significant patient harm when used in error.

Although mistakes may or may not be more common with these medicines, the consequences of an error can be more devastating to both the patient and the healthcare team.


This module is intended for all health care staff involved in the management of medicines, particularly in the hospital setting.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module you will be able to:

  • identify what makes a medicine ‘high risk’
  • identify high risk medicines
  • explain how medication errors occur
  • explain strategies to improve management of high risk medicines
  • describe resources/tools available to help in the safe management of high risk medicines.

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 2023 Updated to include new APINCHS and variations of APINCHS used in differrent states.
October 2014 First released.


High risk medicines resources



Medication safety training resources

  • NPS MedicineWise and the Commission, through the NPS MedicineWise Online Learning Site, provide a range of health professional education and training resources on medication safety and quality. The resources are designed to improve the use of medicines and to improve patient safety and the quality of care.


Content team

Medicines and Technology Policy and Programs Branch (MTPP), SA Health:

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

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, MTPP, SA Health)
  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital Pharmacy Department

Module structure