National Inpatient Medication Chart NIMC audit

What is the National Inpatient Medication Chart?

The National Inpatient Medication Chart (NIMC) is a nationally standardised inpatient medication chart, which was introduced to reduce medication errors and adverse medication events.

Medication incidents remain the second most common type of incident reported in Australian hospitals. Studies in Australian hospitals report that 2-5% of medication charts contain prescribing errors and 5-18% of medicines administered are incorrect.

What is the NIMC Audit?

The NIMC Audit is a state-wide review of how the NIMC is used in hospitals. In 2012, it was mandated that WA hospitals participate in the national NIMC audit, continuing on a biennial basis. Participation by hospitals was voluntary prior to 2012.

The key objectives of the audit are to:

  • Evaluate the effect of the NIMC on the safety and quality of prescribing
  • Evaluate the effect of the NIMC on medication documentation
  • Identify further areas for improvement in medication management

How is collected data used?

Data collected will be submitted to the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care (external site).

Results will be compared with data from other states to give a national overview of NIMC use and compliance with its safety features.

Feedback from the audit will also help identify potential improvements to the structure and content of the NIMC and supporting materials.

Gaps in practice that become evident from the results will be used to guide a detailed examination of factors limiting improvements or barriers that can be addressed.

Individual hospitals can also use the data to benchmark their current practice against state and national results.

Local education initiatives may then be developed to respond to specific gaps in practice that are highlighted by the audit.

How will data be collected?

Each hospital will be given a total number of charts to audit. In general, this number is determined by the number of beds; hospitals with 150 beds or more will be required to audit 20 per cent of patients.

Hospitals are required to nominate coordinators to perform the audit. It is recommended that the audit is conducted in pairs – one pharmacist and one nurse, so information on the chart is interpreted appropriately.

Auditors are required to complete an audit form and upload the data onto the Commission’s Audit Database. All the audit tools and guidance on how to use them are available on the Commission’s website (external site). It is estimated that to collect and upload the data for one patient will require between 45 minutes and one hour.

When is the NIMC Audit?

The audit is conducted every two years at the same time of year to give a current snapshot of NIMC practice. However, organisations may undertake local and focussed audits in the interim.

In 2014, data collection occurred between 1 August and 30 September.


WA NIMC Audit 2014 specific resources:

More information

Quality Improvement and Change Management Unit
Address: 189 Royal Street, East Perth
Phone: 9222 4080

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Quality Improvement and Change Management Unit