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Clinical audit cycle

Introduction

Mandatory clinical audit was introduced in the 1990 by the NHS act and The White Paper Working for Patients. It actually evolved from the medical audit during 1993 and it was a logical step forward because it was a multi-disciplinary approach to auditing. In 1997 its position as an essential element of professional practice in the Health Service was firmly reinforced. In 1998 it was confirmed that all doctors who work in the hospitals definitely need to participate in different types of audit programs. It was also strongly advised that all doctors who work in hospitals need to record all their data honestly in order to take part in systematic and regular clinical and medical audits. In recent years, the importance of audits was outlined on local and national levels and the role of its improvement in patient care was underlined.

What is Clinical Audit?

There are a large number of people who actually do not know what clinical audit is.  An accepted definition of clinical audit is that it is actually a process in which the quality of patient care gets improved because the changes and explicit criteria get implemented. Outcomes, process and the structure of care are systematically evaluated and selected against very specific and explicit criteria. The process itself is referred to as the audit cycle and it involves choosing a topic, reviewing current standards, collecting data on current practice, using data to make comparisons with current standards, implementing changes so that improvements can be made, and re-auditing to make sure that the actual practice got improved. Since clinical audit is process in which the quality gets improved it is efficient in providing certain benefits. Clinical audit is efficient in reducing claims, complaints and incidents, minimizing error and harm to patients, developing local protocols and guidelines, understanding the expectations of patients, listening to their wishes, providing assurance, meeting evidence based best practice, developing openness to changes and improving the overall practice. Clinical audit was designed by the Clinical effectiveness and evaluation department so that it could be of great help in providing support and advice on audits, finding guidelines and standards, developing patient questionnaires, providing a note pulling service, analyzing the data, producing better reports and presentations and working in conjunction with audit participants so that action plans could be produced. It is important for researches to always seek new knowledge and look for the best practice possible. 

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