New support for clinical audit from NICE

Quality standards will be the focus of a new range of audit support packages being developed by NICE.

A new tool being developed will help health and social care organisations audit the improvements they are making to their services, as part of a redesign of the audit support NICE provides.

"We have changed our approach to audit support to focus on NICE quality standards, as the statements they contain are designed to drive measurable service improvements," said Sally Chisholm, NICE’s programme director for adoption and impact. "We have developed a template that allows those who are undertaking an audit to measure either one or more quality standard at the same time.

"For example, a GP may want to measure improvements in the care they provide to patients with kidney disease. The new tool will allow them to use a single audit that includes the quality standard statements relating to primary care in two quality standards, acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. It will allow users to select which statements are relevant to their service, unlike our previous tools that included all guideline recommendations, which users told us was unhelpful."

"We have been speaking with audit networks whilst developing these tools, and they have made many useful suggestions and have been very positive about this development."

The package of support is in its final stages of development and the first tool will be available this summer.

NICE will continue to provide baseline assessment tools for guidelines and, where identified, audit tools for interventional procedures. Existing clinical audit tools will be available on the NICE website and will only be removed should an update to guidance make them incompatible.

NICE is also developing a facility to allow organisations to publish their own audit results on the NICE website as part of our Uptake database. This will also be available in the summer.

If you have any questions, or would like to be kept informed with the tools' development please email uptake@nice.org.uk

We have changed our approach to audit support to focus on NICE quality standards, as the statements they contain are designed to drive measurable service improvements

Sally Chisholm, NICE’s programme director for adoption and impact