What is audit?

Audit in the wider sense is simply a tool to find out what you do now; this often to be compared with what you have done in the past, or what you think you may wish to do in the future.

Medical Audit (MA) has a more specific meaning, and this is vital for the measurement of the quality of care given to the practice population. MA requires standard setting, data collection, comparison with standard's, review of data and standards, review of current practice, change in that practice and further data collection and comparison with the original data.

This can be summarised in the Audit cycle. As a tool it leads to reading around a subject, searching for evidence or best practice for the standard setting, use of IT to collect data and communicate with patients. Changes have to be negotiated with the various members of the practice, and primary health care team. Finally the resultant audit is a valuable tool for the practice when looking at quality issues. There is also scope to seek financial help for such an audit from the Health Authority, savings and other sources.

Medical Audit

The study of some part of the structure process and outcome of (clinical) care, carried out by those personally engaged in the activity concerned, to measure whether set objectives have been attained and thus assess the quality of care delivered.

Audit involves

Why audit?

What to audit

How to audit?

  1. Define the standards which you should be able to realistically reach of the area which you intend to audit. Standards should be
    • Realistic
    • Owned/ownable
    • Parallel to existing standards - "one country, two systems".
  2. Set the criteria by which you will measure those standards.
  3. Compare your results against your defined standard. Is change needed?
  4. Review the results of any changes made.

How to define standards?

Key questions in medical audit

The audit cycle

Audit cycle

The audit assessment form can be used to determine the completeness of an audit.

Types of sampling

Sample size

Research or audit?