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In this website, we will be regularly uploading audits that have been carried out and published in various dental journals. The idea is to extrapolate thoughts on how to improve dental services and performances, and to learn from those audits how they've improved their patient care in various dental settings. The ultimate aim is to modify some of these audit ideas to your clinical setting and learn from other's experiences and strategies.
But first, what is a 'Clinical Audit'?
Clinical audit is the process of systematic critical analysis of the quality of dental care delivered to patients. The aim of clinical audit is to identify service deficiencies so that they may be remedied. Its purpose is also to encourage dentists to assess all aspects of patient care and consider it routine to aim to improve any aspects of service that are below standard (Adapted from theyoungdentist.com by Hannah Morison).
However, the fundamental difference between clinical audit and research is that clinical audit's aims and methods will vary according to local arrangements, meaning that you will need to tailor your audit idea according to how your service runs and what guidelines you follow in your patient care and treatment pathway.
What is the difference between clinical audit and research?
“Research is about obtaining new knowledge and finding out what treatments are the most effective. Clinical audit is about quality and finding out if best practice is being practiced. Research tells us what we should be doing. Clinical audit tells us whether we are doing what we should be doing and how well we are doing it.
The National Research Ethics Service makes a clear distinction between clinical audit and research and states that, unlike research, clinical audit does not need approval from a research ethics committee.”
Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership [Adapted from: www.hquip.org.uk]
Audits could be carried out in many areas of your practice or clinical setting such as:
Infection control measures
Staff abilities and qualifications in the management of medical and dental emergencies
Dealing with complaints
Child protection measures
Minimizing attendance failures (DNAs)
and many more....