Clinical Effectiveness and Audit

The Importance of Clinical Effectiveness and Clinical Audit

Clinical effectiveness and clinical audit are essential components of the Clinical Governance agenda to improve and assure quality (DoH 1998). Clinical effectiveness is aimed at making clinical practice more explicitly evidence based, with the goal of improving the effectiveness of clinical practice and service delivery. Clinical effectiveness is about doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right patient, at the right time.

Clinical audit can assist in identifying where decisions should be made to make changes in practice to improve clinical effectiveness. It is essential to have feedback to confirm that the agreed changes are being implemented every day, for every patient for whom the practice applies; this is where clinical audit supports the implementation of clinically effective practice.

Clinical Audit

Clinical Audit can be defined as a systematic review of clinical care given by healthcare professionals. Practice is measured against explicitly agreed standards and for clinical practice to be continually effective, changes or modifications in practice are made where indicated to improve patient care. It is recognised that action is often not solely required from the participating clinicians, often organisational change is needed as well.

The Department of Health in various published documents (DoH 1997, DoH 1998, NHSE 1996) identifies an expectation that all healthcare professionals including nurses, doctors, therapists and other members of the healthcare team take part in clinical audit.

There are close links between clinical risk management, clinical effectiveness and audit and quality, which are all components of clinical governance. The Trust is committed to supporting and facilitating the implementation of recommendations arising from clinical audit, in order to improve the quality of patient care.

Audit does not need to be difficult, KEEP IT SIMPLE

There is a misconception that clinical audit has to be complex. The most effective audits are simple, quick and address a quality issue central to healthcare provision. For this to be the case an emphasis must be placed on the selection of an appropriate audit topic and the design of the audit

Clinical Audit should be positive and highlight both good practice and clinical effectiveness.

Further Details

For further information, please contact:

Dr Ann Spiropoulos, Clinical Effectiveness & Audit Manager,

Telephone: 01932 722125