Clinical audit is a quality improvement process that seeks to improve patient care and outcomes through systematic review of care against explicit criteria and the implementation of change. Aspects of the structure, processes, and outcomes of care are selected and systematically evaluated against explicit criteria. Where indicated, changes are implemented at an individual, team or service level and further monitoring is used to confirm improvement in healthcare delivery. (NICE 2002)
Clinical audit provides the framework to improve the quality of patient care in a collaborative and systematic way. When clinical audit is conducted well, it enables the quality of care to be reviewed objectively, within an approach which is supportive, developmental and focused on improvement.
Benefits of clinical audit are that it:
- promotes and enables good practice
- provides opportunities for education and training
- builds relationships between clinicians, clinical teams, managers and patients
- leads to improvements in service delivery and patient outcomes.