Definitions of Clinical Audit

white words on blackboard with Audit in large

Audit is about looking at what you are doing with a view to arriving at acceptable guidelines and evaluating the outcome. (Ovretveit J, 1992)

Clinical Audit is quite simply a way of measuring the quality of health care provided by a service. (Van der Gaag A, 1993)

Audit is not concerned primarily with fault or discrepancy finding, but with the examination of working practice to improve effectiveness. (Dickens P, 1994)

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 (NICE 2002).

What Are The Benefits Of Audit?

It helps answer:

WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO DO? (What is best practice in this area?)

HOW WELL ARE WE DOING IT? (Does current practice reflect best practice?)

HOW DO WE KNOW? (By measuring one against the other)

HOW DO WE DO IT BETTER? (Reflect on the results of our audit and decide what we can do differently)

Audit can:

  • Bring about change
  • Reduce inherent organisational and clinical errors
  • Improve efficiency and effectiveness
  • Improve outcomes
  • Demonstrate good practice
  • Help meet patients’ needs and expectations
  • Stimulate continuing professional development
  • Identify areas of risk (business, personnel and clinical)



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