We use the information we collect about our care to see how well we’re performing. This process is known as clinical audit.
Audits can help us to:
- check that we are meeting a particular clinical standard
- identify and manage risks
- identify situations where we are not working as efficiently as we could be, so that we can make improvements
- improve our care
- improve outcomes for our patients.
Organisations such as the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) require all NHS Trusts to perform a set of national audits every year. This helps us to see how we are performing compared to other, similar organisations.
We also perform a set of local audits each year. This might be to:
- check for patterns in our patients’ outcomes
- keep track of areas where we are managing a risk
- measure the effect of a particular change to the way we provide care.
Audits don’t tell us about how well we cared for an individual person. Instead they tell us about how well our services are performing care for large numbers of patients. This is known as measuring their clinical effectiveness.