What is clinical audit?
Clinical audit is the systematic review and evaluation of current practice against research-based standards with a view to improving clinical care for service users.
Why clinical audit?
The Health Service Executive recognises clinical audit as a reliable method of:
- Proactively measuring the effectiveness and performance of healthcare against agreed standards for high quality.
- Improving the quality of care provided to service users by identifying action to bring practice in line with these standards.
- Providing the assurance of quality to service users, practitioners and to the health system as a whole.
Clinical Audit Support during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has required the most urgent, critical and large-scale response the Health Service has ever had to provide. The National Quality Improvement (QI) Team are committed to supporting pandemic management, and have contributed to steering the strategic and clinical response to COVID-19.
Staff of the National QI Team have been redeployed to support the HSE response to COVID-19. As a result, existing programmes, including our Clinical Audit Support function, have been placed on hold while we are applying our expertise in responding to the pressing needs of the pandemic.
We have outlined a number of resources and tools below that may help local services undertaking clinical audit. We would also encourage you to access clinical audit training resources on HSELand.
A Practical Guide to Clinical Audit
In order to undertake effective clinical audit, healthcare professionals must have the necessary knowledge of the clinical audit process. Evidence shows that data collection is frequently confused with clinical audit.
In 2013, the Quality and Patient Safety Division developed ‘A Practical Guide to Clinical Audit’ to eliminate such confusion and to equip healthcare professionals with the necessary knowledge to plan, design and conduct a clinical audit.
- Acts as a learning resource for those who are new to clinical audit.
- Provides a reference guide for healthcare professionals already involved in clinical audit.
- Equips healthcare professionals with the necessary knowledge to plan, design and conduct a clinical audit.
- Enables healthcare professionals to be proactive and to make changes which contribute to overall quality improvement within their services.
Clinical Audit Resources
The National Review of Clinical Audit (2019) was launched by Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer at the National Patient Safety Office Conference on the 13th November 2019. The report summarises the current barriers impacting clinical audit in Ireland. In addition, it provides guidance and recommendations to further develop clinical audit across the Irish Healthcare system.
The Practical Guide to Clinical Audit contains sample templates, checklists and summaries. These may also be accessed as standalone documents through the following links:
- Healthcare Clinical Audit Criteria, prepared by the Audit Criteria and Guidance Working group, 2008
This document was prepared by the Audit Criteria and Guidance Working group in 2008 to support the implementation of criteria four of the HSE Quality and Risk Management Standard (2007), which pertained to clinical and healthcare audit.
- Healthcare Audit Criteria and Guidance
This document includes appendices with Guidance material for Healthcare Audit.
For More Information
For more information on Clinical Audit Support, please contact:
Nicola O’Grady, Clinical Audit Support Lead, National Quality Improvement Team
Tel. 057 9357904