Clinical audit is 'a quality improvement cycle that involves measurement of the effectiveness of 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 health outcomes.'1
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
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.