File(s) under permanent embargo

The evolution of clinical audit as a tool for quality improvement.

journal contribution
posted on 2003-05-01, 00:00 authored by Michael BerkMichael Berk, T Callaly, M Hyland
Clinical auditing practices are recognized universally as a useful tool in evaluating and improving the quality of care provided by a health service. External auditing is a regular activity for mental health services in Australia but internal auditing activities are conducted at the discretion of each service. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of 6 years of internal auditing activities in a mental health service. A review of the scope, audit tools, purpose, sampling and design of the internal audits and identification of the recommendations from six consecutive annual audit reports was completed. Audit recommendations were examined, as well as levels of implementation and reasons for success or failure. Fifty-seven recommendations were identified, with 35% without action, 28% implemented and 33.3% still pending or in progress. The recommendations were more likely to be implemented if they relied on activity, planning and action across a selection of service areas rather than being restricted to individual departments within a service, if they did not involve non-mental health service departments and if they were not reliant on attitudinal change. Tools used, scope and reporting formats have become more sophisticated as part of the evolutionary nature of the auditing process. Internal auditing in the Barwon Health Mental Health Service has been effective in producing change in the quality of care across the organization. A number of evolutionary changes in the audit process have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the audit.



Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice






251 - 257









Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2003, Wiley