What can you audit in your practice? And how?

There are many aspects of your practice that you could audit:

Procedures for receiving consent

Procedures for handling complaints

Patient Records

Storage of patient records

Infection control

Health and safety – manual handling, fire safety, electrical safety, work stations etc.

Equipment in your practice

An aspect of patient care – exercise prescription, HVT, diagnosis etc.

An aspect of patient records – treatment plans, past medical history, recording active movements, recording psychosocial aspects

Response to treatment – after first treatment or at end of treatment sessions

Non-attending patients

Letters written to GPs

The list could go on and on, NCOR have audit templates for a lot more areas of practice that you could audit.

The process

Identify an area of practice to audit

Define objectives – what do you want to find out?

Identify the standards for that area of practice from research literature, or the OPS

Set a process for gathering the information and how much data you want to gather

Ensure confidentiality and data protection issues throughout

Draw the data together to make a report of findings

Make plans of action for changes to practice

Set a time frame to re-audit to see if changes have been effective

There are several cycles used to demonstrate this process, one of which is PLAN-DO-STUDY-ACT.

Many audit templates are simple tick box lists.  Easy to apply.  The size of the audit you choose needs to be large enough to give a picture of your practice – often 100 patient records is sufficient.

Learning from your audit

It is helpful to produce a report from your audit – what was measured, how, the results, and the conclusions drawn.  This will give you evidence for your CPD portfolio.  It will also provide you with the information you need to carry out the audit again in the future.

It is very important to re-audit your practice after you have implemented changes.  This will demonstrate whether the changes have been effective and the standard of your practice as a result.  You may need to make further changes to improve standards even more.  You can also re-audit in the future to ensure standards are remaining consistently high.

There are several examples of audits at the end of the NCOR handbook on audit.

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