Clinical Audit is defined as the "systematic review and evaluation of current practice with reference to research based standards [and designed] to improve patient care". The setting of standards, the measurement of practice compared to a "gold standard", the identification of deficiencies (closing the loop) are the accepted components of clinical audit.
As part of the Professional Competence Scheme, all registered medical practitioners will actively engage in audit and at a minimum, participate in one audit exercise annually that relates directly to their area of clinical practice. It is recommended that practitioners spend at a minimum one hour per month in audit activity.
Clinical audit is recognised as having three elements:
- Measurement - measuring a specific element of clinical practice
- Comparison - comparing results with the recognised standard (in circumstances where comparison is possible)
- Evaluation - reflecting the outcome of audit and where indicated, changing practice accordingly
The College of Psychiatrists has drafted a Clinical Audit Booklet giving guidance on planning, completing and documenting your Clinical Audit. We recommend that you complete a Clinical Audit Summary Sheet as a record of your audit.
For psychiatrists engaged in Mental Health Tribunal / Section 17 work please click here for a list for possible Clinical Audit topics.