The main aim of this paper is to explain why audit is perceived as important in promoting quality in health care and what should ideally happen. At the beginning of this paper it is important to mention that audit is considered to be one of the concepts of quality in health care, and it is primarily aimed at the achievement and maintenance of good quality in this sphere of human care. Pearson, et al (2003) stated that “Medical audit is the systematic critical analysis of the quality of medical care; clinical audit is the systematic critical analysis of the quality of clinical care by all health care professionals.” In such a way, audit, being a perfect tool for promoting quality in health care, is important for the purpose of to control situation among health care professionals, to improve patient outcome and to develop the best and a more cost effective use of medicines and other resources as much as possible. Any person, being in hospital, should be sure that he or she will be treated by the best professionals who can use medical resources in proper way. Thus, audit has also an educational function for all health professionals, giving them an opportunity to ask questions and gain new information about existed situation in one chosen for audit area.
Audit has many advantages in its essence, because it is ordinary made for the purpose of to provide changes in clinical practice, but sometimes its effectiveness is not as higher as desired because it can be focused more on process, rather than possible outcomes or structure of organization. According to Leathard (2003), any audit should be oriented at the common question, or it can be very significant or serious problem. It should be made for the purpose of to really improve situation and benefit patients who are depend on health care professionals. Jenkinson (1997) added that suggested criteria for making an important audit should also include: “the issue is relevant to professional practice or development; there is realistic potential for improvement; and the end result is likely to justify the investment of the time and effort involved.”
Celenza, et al (2011) mentioned that medical or clinical audit may be conducted only by health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, therapists, etc. Reviewing and monitoring situation they may find gaps in their work and critically analyze the quality of clinical care in the concrete area taken as an object for an audit.
There is no doubt that we have presented an ideal model of an audit, but sometimes undesirable challenges are not allowing to put the above presented ideals into practice. Observing these challenges we can state that it can be a concentration on one aspect to the prejudice of objective monitoring of the situation, irresponsible attitude to an audit, a wish to hide results of the work using mild terms in the report, which can conceal some issues from critical analysis. Thus, it is necessary to overcome all possible challenges on the way of real audit which will help to make the quality of treatment in health care better.
In conclusion, we have observed the concept of an audit in this paper and not only explained why audit is perceived as important in promoting quality in health care, but also observed what should ideally happen.
Azevedo, D. For These Doctors, One Audit Fits All Health Plans. Medical Economics, Vol. 73, May 13, 1996.
Black, N., Brazier, J., Fitzpatrick, R. and Reeve, B. Health Services Research Methods. A Guide to Best Practice. London: BMJ Publishing, 1998.
Celenza, A. et al. Audit of Emergency Department Assessment and Management of Patients Presenting with Community-acquired Needle Stick Injuries. Australian Health Review, Vol. 35, 2011.
Jenkinson, C. Assessment and Evaluation of Health and Medical Care. Buckingham: Open University Press, 1997.
Kirkpatrick, W. et al. Social Work Ethics Audits in Health Care Settings: A Case Study. Health and Social Work, Vol. 31, 2006.
Leathard, A. Interprofessional Collaboration: From Policy to Practice in Health and Social Care. Brunner-Routledge, 2003.
Pearson, B. et al. No Margin, No Mission: Health-Care Organizations and the Quest for Ethical Excellence. Oxford University Press, 2003.
St Leger, A.S., Schnieden, H. and Wadsworth-Bell, J.P. Evaluating Health Services’ Effectiveness. Buckingham: Open University Press, 1992.
Zeitz, K. and Tucker, K. Capacity Audit Tool: Identifying Inpatient Delays to Maximise Service Improvement. Australian Health Review, Vol. 34, 2010.