2This guide is intended to complement the more comprehensive guide to audit in this electronic resource, or may be used as an aide memoir for those more familiar with the audit process.

Whilst we are all using audit on an informal basis as part of our practice, demonstrating understanding of the process is something some GPs find difficult. This audit pack should enable all GPs to complete a meaningful and understandable audit. Your completed audit might be used as the basis for reflection on what you do, for discussion with colleagues and / or for introducing or reviewing changes in the practice.  You are encouraged to include the completed audit in your GP appraisal along with reflection on what you have learned from it and what, if anything, you will do differently as a result.

How to choose an audit topic:

The choice of audit topic may reflect clinical workload issues, prescribing data, new or established guidelines or the outcome of complaint or SEA for example DMARDs repeat prescribing compared against shared care protocols.

Set the criteria:

Using clinical evidence, local or national guidelines etc.

Set standards:

Define a standard which may be ideal, optimum or minimum.

Design the audit tool:

Often with the help of in house administrative staff design the information gathering process – remember this should be relatively easy to perform with your current software or utilise data that is easily available from other sources.

Collect the data:

A suitable time period of data collection needs to be set; this will depend on the topic covered and the numbers needed.

Compare results:

Compare the results with the standards set and decide on any changes needed.

Implement changes:

Apply changes across organisation ensuring everyone involved is aware of what is changing and why.

Second data collection:

After a suitable time period collect the data again, compare theses with the standards set and the results of the first data collection.

Conclusions:

What has been learnt, has the practice improved and moved towards the standards set, are there any further changes necessary?

This information should enable you to produce a coherent and valuable audit which in turn should help improve your practice.