Audit and quality improvement

Introduction

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 healthoutcomes'.1

Clinical radiology national audits are run by the Clinical Radiology Audit Committee. Members and Fellows may choose to undertake local re-audits after participating in a national project. Within each radiology department, there is usually a clinical radiology audit lead who liaises with The College. The College employs an audit officer to support audit work for its two faculties. AuditLive is a growing collection of audit templates, many with downloadable data collection forms which can be adapted for local use. AuditLive 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 standards are an additional source of recommendations to audit against. The 2017 Clinical Radiology Audit Poster Competition will take place during RCR17 between 11 and 13 September 2017 at ACC Liverpool.

Clinical Radiology Audit Forum

The Committee runs the annual Clinical Radiology Audit Forum (conference), which comprises presentations and a QI poster competition. The 2017 Audit Forum will take place on Monday 22 May at The College. The theme will be taking an affirmative stance on quality in radiology, and highlights will include Responses to findings from the RCR national audit on accuracy of emergency abdominal CT reporting and implications for future planning (Dr Giles Maskell), Role of the NHS England National Clinical Director for Diagnostics (Professor Tony Newman-Sanders), Results from the RCR national audit of safety checks in radiology interventions (Dr Paul Malcolm) and Clinical productivity & efficiency in the NHS: a progress report (Professor Tim Briggs). There will be 6 CPD credits for attendance. 

Resources for effective 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 (QI) 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 Best Practice in Clinical Audit sets out best practice criteria with links to further information. The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and others, provides extensive guidance and resources to undertake effective audit. 

References

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.