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Dr Helen Wharam

IMPROVEMENT METHOD

Clinical Audit

Clinical Audit is a way of checking if services meet local and/or national standards by looking at data. If results are below standard, then improvement actions must be planned and implemented. Then a repeat audit will show if the improvement has made a difference.

Why do we "do" Clinical Audit?

We "do" Clinical Audit in order to know what is happening in a service; what is working well and where areas could be improved, and the results can help us highlight potential concerns.

Where do the standards we use come from?

The standards can come from local policies as well as national guidance like those from the National Institute for Clinical and Healthcare Excellence (NICE).

How can you involve patients and the public with audits and evaluations?

A simple way is to ask them to describe their experiences or opinions. This usually starts with surveys but can include interviews and focus groups.

How do we know which projects to carry out?

There are some national projects that we must do, whilst others are identified by the service or formulated at our annual Improvement Planning day.

Audit cycle
model of teeth

Specialist dental service

IMPACT OF CLINICAL AUDIT

Driving improvement using the audit cycle

Our specialist dental services conduct a wide range of audits, and in 2021 a more detailed audit on antibiotic prescribing during COVID demonstrated high quality, effective and improving care.

 

But sometimes, simple audits are great too. Their audit on the recording of parental consent is repeated each year, starting five years ago with 50% consent, rising each year and now achieving almost 100%. This shows how well managed audit cycles can drive continuous improvement.

man wearing face mask

Audits in inpatient care

IMPACT OF CLINICAL AUDIT

Effective safe care and infection control

We routinely audit our inpatient care in Portsmouth and Southampton to provide assurance of effective care and act on any concerns. This can range from simple checks on wristbands, to more detailed checks on nutrition assessments, care plans and discharge reports.

 

Each inpatient ward will also have an infection control champion working with our central infection control team who will conduct regular audits to ensure we are following the latest guidelines.

clinician working

Audits in community care

IMPACT OF CLINICAL AUDIT

Records, referrals and pathways

We provide a wide range of community services, many of which conduct audits. In one example, our physiotherapists have been able to show improvement and high levels of effectiveness in their record keeping for falls and the associated strength and balance therapy programme.

 

Like other services e.g. podiatry they have also used audit to drive improvement in the quality of referrals including self-referrals. Then when we introduced a new pathway for the care of people coming to GPs with back pain repeated audits have shown increased use and effectiveness.

RELATED TO IMPROVEMENT

News + events

Poster Writing Day - Southampton

18 June 2024

9.30am - 4pm

Southampton, UK

CAAW 10 Minute Tour

24 June 2024

12noon - 12.10pm

Online

CAAW 10 Minute Tour

26 June 2024

9am - 9.10am

Online

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