Clinical audit is “a quality improvement cycle that involves measurement of the effectivenessof healthcare against agreed and proven standards for high quality, and taking action to bring practice in line with these standards so as to improve the quality of care and healthoutcomes."1
Clinical oncology national audits are run by the Clinical Oncology Audit Committee. Members and Fellows may choose to undertake local re-audits after participating in a national project. Within each oncology department, there is usually a clinical oncology audit lead who liaises with the College. The College employs an audit officer to support audit work for its two Faculties.
Audit Library is a growing collection of audit templates, many with downloadable data collection forms which can be adapted for local use. The Library can provide ideas and methodologies for those looking for audits to undertake locally for revalidation or for planning the annual forward programme in clinical audit. College publications and guidance are an additional source of recommendations to audit against.
In addition to material on this website, the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and others, provides extensive guidance and resources to increase the impact that audit has on healthcare quality.
Using quality improvement (QI) tools in audit
Undertaking audit can be thought of as a four-stage process involving preparation and planning, measuring performance, implementing change and sustaining improvement.2 Quality improvement tools can be used to achieve desired outcomes for any of these stages. The Guide to Using Quality Improvement Tools to Drive Clinical Audits describes how such tools work in detail and when to use them.3
Clinical Oncology Audit Conference
The Committee runs an annual audit conference, which comprises presentations and an audit poster competition. The Conference attracts CPD credits, and clinical oncology audit leads pay a discounted rate. The 2014 Conference, Improving Clinical Outcomes through Quality Improvement Activity: A Focus on Lung, Bladder and Oesophageal Cancer, has been awarded five RCR Category 1 CPD credits. It will take place on Friday 6 June at the Geological Society, London. Members are encouraged to book online.
1. Burgess R (ed). NEW Principles for Best Practice in Clinical Audit. Abingdon: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, 2011.
2. Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). Criteria and Indicators of Best Practice in Clinical Audit. London: Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership Ltd (HQIP), 2009.
3. Dixon N, Pearce M. Guide to Using Quality Improvement Tools to Drive Clinical Audits. London: Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership Ltd (HQIP), 2011.