Clinical Audit

What is Clinical Audit?

Clinical Audit (CA) is a systematic process whereby clinicians evaluate their practice against an agreed criteria or standard of best practice. CA is important for two reasons;
  • To ensure there is a professional responsibility for clinical staff to participate in evaluating the quality of their practice.
  • It’s an essential component of the quality improvement system within hospitals and other NHS providers.
CA is a repeating process – it starts with first agreeing what the priority for the audit is, then setting standards for practices to be judged. The next step involves analysing the data collected and finally, bringing about the change to make an improvement. The cycle is completed by going back to the beginning and re-measuring practice to see whether the clinical process or clinical outcome has improved as a result of the changes put in place.
The criteria can be drawn from an official source such as NICE guidelines. If they don’t exist, criteria can be taken from a consensus within the clinical team or specialism. Once the standards have been identified, the next step is to design a way of evaluating practice methodically against those standards.

Patient and public involvement

We actively encourage and support our patients and the public to join us in our quality improvement work.
Input from patient and the public help us to decide what the priorities are for improvement and in the process of CA.
The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership have a patient and public involvement strategy for CA, which can be found here.

Clinical Audit Team

Claire McKechnie-Mason is the Clinical Audit Quality Lead at RJAH. Her role is to co-ordinate and support the Trust’s CA programme by providing CA training and creating a strategic view of CA.
She is part of the Innovation Hub at RJAH, alongside the Research Department and Quality Outcomes Unit.
Claire is passionate about putting quality improvement at the heart of CA work. She also organises Quality Forum evens three times a year and is the Chair of the Orthopaedic Quality Improvement Clinical Audit Network, hosted by the National Orthopaedic Alliance.

You can contact Claire by emailing [email protected].


Useful Clinical Audit documents

You can see more work of the Quality Forum on Twitter.