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 and Quality Improvement 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.
Clinical Radiology Audit Forum
The Committee runs an annual Clinical Radiology Audit and Quality Improvement Forum, which comprises presentations on audit and quality improvement and a QI poster competition. (NB: The 2020 Forum was cancelled due to COVID-19.)
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. 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.1
Principles for Best Practice in Clinical Audit sets out best practice criteria with links to further information.2
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.3
The ESR Audit and Standards Subcommittee has produced Esperanto - a guide to clinical audit in radiology and their clinical audit tool.
1. Dixon N, Pearce M. Guide to Using Quality Improvement Tools to Drive Clinical Audits. London: Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership Ltd (HQIP), 2011.
2. Burgess R (ed). NEW Principles for Best Practice in Clinical Audit. Abingdon: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, 2011.
3. Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). Best Practice in Clinical Audit. London: Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership Ltd (HQIP), 2020.