Clinical Governance is a framework through which NHS organisations are responsible for continually improving the quality of care and demonstrating this by setting and monitoring standards.
Clinical audit is one method of monitoring and changing practice to improve quality. As part of clinical governance, all healthcare professionals have a duty to audit their practice.
A definition of clinical audit
"Clinical Audit is a quality improvement process that seeks to improve practice and outcomes through systematic review of practice against explicit criteria and the implementation of change..."
New Principles of Best Practice in Clinical Audit, HQIP (2010)
Clinical Audit involves the monitoring of practice against some agreed standard or guideline and the implementation of change where required. Audit is a cyclical process where the quality of practice is regularly and systematically reviewed. The key to effective clinical audit is changing practice. To facilitate change all key stakeholders within the audit area should be identified and involved in the audit from the start. They should be involved with any recommendations for change and agree to act on the changes suggested.
For information on how to undertake clinical audit go to our publications page.