Clinical audits benefit both researchers and patients in the pharmaceutical industry. An audit assesses the quality of an area of health care to determine whether it meets a certain standard. Care providers can learn where their service is doing well, and in what ways they can improve. The ultimate goal is to provide the best possible outcomes for patients.
Conducting a clinical audit is a careful process that requires planning, vigilance, and direction. Being aware of potential obstacles can also ensure the audit runs smoothly and efficiently. Most importantly, auditors need to set clear standards to measure performance. With reliable results, you can make meaningful improvements based on recommendations. Read on for a closer look at conducting an effective clinical audit.
Choose Your Topic
Every clinical audit begins with identifying a specific problem in health care. This can include concerns such as patients waiting too long to receive emergency care. It’s important to choose a topic that is simple with a specific focus on an area of care that is a priority for improvement. Consider areas with known risks that have suffered from past clinical mishaps. At the same time, avoid trying to address a topic that is too broad; the problem should be highlighted in one short sentence.
As the demand for relevant data increases, it’s essential that resources are put towards audits that are valuable to all stakeholders, including carers, patients, and trust managers. By choosing a topic that relates to the objectives of the whole organization, professionals with clinical research training can receive valuable managerial support for their audits.
Set Measurable Standards
Once you have identified your topic, you’ll need to develop the criteria for your audit. This will allow you to measure whether a specific area of care meets the expected standards. Generally, clinical audits need to be evaluated against explicit criteria. You can begin by researching existing guidelines in your chosen area and what the nationally recognized standards are. In many cases, your audit may have been done before, and you can apply those same guidelines to your results.
For clinical audits, standards should be SMART:
Graduates of a clinical research program should pay attention to these practicalities when choosing a topic for the audit. It will be far more effective to explore a topic with accessible data, relevant resources, and clear standards that will pave the way for improvement.
The Importance of Re-Auditing For Those With Clinical Research Training
The end goal of a clinical audit should always be to implement beneficial change. The best way to assess whether this goal has been achieved is to perform a re-audit after a suitable period of time. For the best results, the audit should be done three times. Naturally, an audit with a high turnover of patients and an easy, focused objective is easier to re-do than one with a more challenging problem. If the re-audit shows sufficient improvement, other organizations can learn and benefit from the results. On the other hand, if the re-audit shows insufficient changes, researchers may want to examine their topic or measurable standards for future audits.
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