Clinical audit

What is Clinical Audit?

Clinical audit is the process used by health professionals to assess, evaluate and improve the care of patients in a systematic way in order to enhance their health and quality of life. It consists of four basic steps which are summarised in the diagram below:

Ref: Making Sense of Audit, D & S Irving, Radcliffe Medical Press, 1991, p16

The audit cycle

Define Criteria and standards

For example: national standards e.g. a swallow screen within 4 hours of admission – recommended by National Advisory Committee for stroke and approved by Health Improvement Scotland (HIS)

Collect Data on performance

For example: The Scottish Stroke Care Audit (SSCA).

Assess Performance against criteria and standards

For example: Utilising monthly reports from SSCA to assess local performance.

Identify Need for change

For example: Development of a local action plan to outline and progress improvement plans.

Page last reviewed: 16 Sep 2020