Your practice is a hive of data and information and you can use this information to great benefit. It will help you to build a picture of what your practice is doing and also help you to demonstrate areas of good practice and identify areas where care of patients and procedures could be improved. Gathering data about your practice will provide you with a wonderful resource for use in marketing and will also help you to continuously improve your practice.
It can be surprising to find that what you think is happening in your practice is not an accurate picture of what happening in reality.
Data collection v’s audit
If you use software in your practice then hopefully you will have a good resource for collecting data about your practice. The data you get out of the software will only be as good as the data you put in. You and your staff need to be diligent in accurately entering sufficient data to make the software a valuable resource. Maybe that could be an opportunity for clinic discussion – what data about practice would be useful? and therefore what data needs to always be entered on the system?
You will potentially be able to produce charts that will provide a detailed picture of your practice – how many new patients you get, the most prevalent conditions, patient demographics, the number of visits for a condition etc. etc.
This is data collection and provides a lot of useful information but it is not audit.
Audit is measuring your practice against particular criteria or standards. It asks the question ‘Are we achieving best practice?’ There are many areas of practice that can be audited and we will look at these next week. For example, you might analyse your case history and see whether all the sections are being completed, if not, why not? Are they unnecessary or is the value of that information not understood? Does the case history need re-designing?
I recently spoke to someone working as an auditor in a healthcare setting and their recent audits have covered falls prevention procedures, accuracy of recording personal goods, meeting nutritional requirements. There are so many areas of practice that could be audited.
Audit is essential
Audit can form part of the new CPD scheme as your objective activity. The aim of the objective activity is to be able to demonstrate how it has informed your practice. Audit is also a requirement of the Osteopathic practice standards to critically appraise osteopathic practice and monitor the quality of osteopathic care you deliver and act on the findings.
Why should osteopaths carry out audit?
Osteopaths should want to audit their practice because it will help them to evaluate their practice and improve care of patients. The question being answered is: Are we actually doing what we believe is the right thing, in the right way?
It will help you to identify areas for improvement in your practice and areas where further learning may be needed. It will also help you to demonstrate what your practice is doing well.
You should be able to demonstrate how the audit has informed your practice. This may be by providing evidence of the changes that were implemented as a result of the audit or a record of the training that took place as a result of the audit.
Audit doesn’t have to be a huge task you can take a small sample, carry out an audit and then implement necessary changes or improvements. There are many resources and templates available to help you to easily carry out an audit in your practice.
If you’ve never tried an audit, why not pick an area of practice and have a go today?
Mint – there is a downloadable short module on audit and the Mint folder has many templates for auditing different aspects of your practice.
NCOR – the go to resource for audit. Lots of information and some templates available
CPD website – NCOR has supplied many resources on audit in the objective activity section of the website