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 - trainees may wish to approach their local audit lead to ask to participate in data collection.
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 or for planning the annual forward programme in clinical audit. The audit committee is always happy to receive suggested amendments and updates, and also new templates on uncovered topics. Both activities will earn trainees CME points and count towards audit/QI activity for their annual appraisal.
RCR publications and standards are an additional source of recommendations to audit against.
There is an opportunity to present locally carried out Audit and QI activity at RCR national meetings annually. This year's Clinical Radiology Quality Improvement Poster Competition and Clinical Radiology Audit Poster Competition took place during the 2020 Digital Learning Programme.
Audit for Radiology Trainees
Clinical Radiology Audit Forum
The Committee runs the annual Clinical Radiology Audit and Quality Improvement Forum, which comprises presentations on audit and quality improvement and a QI poster competition. 2020's Forum was cancelled, due to COVID-19, but we hope to run a digital forum in 2021.
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), 2016.