Clinical audit is vital; first and foremost for patient care and safety, and additionally for the development and improvement of your professional practice. We support you in preparing for and conducting your clinical audits so that you can demonstrate your excellent services and identify areas where you can enable real improvements.
What is a clinical audit?
Clinical audit is a continuous cycle of quality improvement that seeks to improve patient care and outcomes through systematic review of care (including procedures and services) against explicit standards and best practice, and to use any shortfalls in standards of care to enable improvements to be made.
The aim of a clinical audit is to determine whether a current service or procedure reaches a specified standard, to use that information to inform improvements in care, and then evaluate those changes by re-auditing.
Why is clinical audit important?
Although healthcare professionals may have been conducting this type of review and improvement activity in various ways for centuries, it has only been relatively recently that the UK has established “clinical audit” as a key activity for the maintenance and improvement of patient care. The need for routine and regular evaluation of patient care and the necessity of acting to improve procedures and services was brought starkly into view after the emergence of serious NHS care failings such as the Bristol Royal Infirmary children’s heart surgery scandal.
If you're a community pharmacist with an NHS contract, you are required to conduct at least two audits per year. While hospital pharmacists are required as part of your practice to conduct, or be involved in clinical audits to contribute to the national priorities for the performance of your trust. NHS Trusts are required to support audit work from central funding.
What are the steps for conducting an audit?