18Audit provides the opportunity for individuals and teams to reflect on the quality of care they provide. It may give insights into strengths and weaknesses and suggest areas to further performance and practice development.

Reflections on what the results of the audit mean to you, your practice, the service or to patients are an essential part of the process. This would normally form the final part of the write up of the audit and should contain commentary on some or all of the following:-

  •  The process itself
    •  What happened during the process to the individual or team?
    •  Were there any unexpected benefits or challenges?
    •  Were there individual highlights to report? (e.g. an individual patient gaining great benefit that will not necessarily be represented in the overall data)
  •  The team or the individual
    •  Are changes necessary on an individual or team basis?
    •  Has a new role been identified within the team?
    •  Are there training issues?
  •  The effects on patient care
    •  Do the results of the audit demonstrate improvements?
    •  Are there improvements still outstanding?
    •  Should the results be disseminated to the population studied and if so how?
  •  The effects on the system
    •  Are there any issues or achievements that impact wider than the population studied?
    •  Should the results of this audit be shared with professionals outside the practice team?

Have any constraints been identified within the service that are out of the control of the author and their immediate team?

  •  The need to continue to study the subject of the audit
    •  Should the audit process continue using the same criteria and standards?
    •  Is there a need to re-examine the criteria?
    •  Is there a need to adjust the standards?
    •  If appropriate to continue at the current levels of both this should be made explicit in this section
  •  In the case of an audit showing no improvements or a deterioration in standards
    •  Why did this happen?
    •  Does this remain an important topic for improvement?
    •  Were the changes instigated flawed in any way?
    •  Is there anything that could be done differently or better?

Audit may reveal gaps in knowledge and will potentially identify areas for further learning.