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Long Live Audit - the difference between Audit and QI

Dr Jane Youde, clinical director for audit and accreditation at the Royal College of Physicians, writes about how QI is building on the world-leading standards audit continues to set.

"So what’s the difference then between audit and QI? Should it matter?

My simplistic way of understanding this is that audit looks at everyday clinical care, comparing it against standards set using national or international evidence-based guidance. This can happen continuously or at time intervals. 

The results can guide the teams involved to look at areas of their care that need to be improved, which is where Quality Improvement comes in: staff can then use QI methods to monitor how changes are improving care over shorter periods of time.

QI uses different systematic methods to improve patient safety and effectiveness of care by designing, testing and implementing changes in care and monitoring their impact using continuous live data. One of the current challenges of QI as I see it is maintaining the improvement, which is where audit and accreditation are important. 

So, I think it’s fair to say audit is not dead, and QI has not replaced it. Instead, QI is building on the world-leading standards audit continues to set.

They are similar and offer complementary ways of improving clinical standards. They should be used in parallel — not one or the other — and, recognising that challenges lie ahead in both, we should not forget in the rush to evolve both audit and QI the patients whose care we strive to improve."

Read the full news article here

Source: RCP 30th August 2019

Dr Youde is speaking at our Clinical Audit Leadership Summit 2019 on Wednesday 16th October 2019 at the The Studio Conference Centre, Birmingham

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