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eNewsletter – Issue 25 – February 2011

Clinical Audit and Improvement 2011 conference special


Welcome to this bumper issue of CASC’s E Newsletter! The main purpose of this E newsletter is to provide all subscribers with an update from the recent Clinical Audit and Improvement conference held in London on 8-9 February 2011 by Healthcare Events. The newsletter focuses on the key messages from the national leaders who presented at the event and explores other matters discussed over the two days. In addition, we have also included an ‘Other news’ section midway through this E newsletter which gives details of other important recent news relevant to those working in the field of clinical audit.

Professor Black states ‘it is an exciting time to be involved in clinical audit’


The conference opened with a keynote speech by Professor Nick Black, Chairman of the National Clinical Audit Advisory Group. Professor Black stated that there are currently a number of huge opportunities for clinical audit and identified that clinical audit is fundamental to the success of many government initiatives (e.g. regulation, revalidation and quality accounts). Professor Black also identified a number of challenges facing the audit community, including (1) the need to improve the quality of local and national clinical audits, (2) the need to broaden the national audit portfolio, and (3) the need for clinical audit staff to take a lead role in facilitating local audit through expert methodological and technical advice (rather than undertaking audits on behalf of clinicians). Professor Black also identified that the relationship between national and local audit needs to examined and enhanced. His final comment was that although clinical audit and the NHS will need to make tough financial decisions in the future, it remains an exciting time to be working in clinical audit.

Robin Burgess makes several important announcements


Robin Burgess, CEO of the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), used his keynote speech at the conference to provide a number of important announcements relating to HQIP and the wider clinical audit community. Mr Burgess endorsed comments from Professor Black in acknowledging that some national clinical audits (NCAs) need to be improved and he stated that HQIP are working on the provision of a database that will publish trustwide participation rates in NCA’s. Mr Burgess gave updates on many HQIP initiatives and announced: HQIP are currently developing training and education materials, HQIP continue to seek examples of audits that have led to cost savings, the Clinical Audit Knowledge Exchange product has been put back to June 2011 and details of the HQIP audit awards for 2011 will be released soon. Mr Burgess also noted that HQIP are gaining responsibility for confidential enquiries (from April 2011) and that Trusts may be asked to pay for a number of established NCA’s in the near future.

Department of Health reveal plans for clinical audit


On the second day of the conference, Mary Newman, Head of Clinical Strategies and Policy at the Department of Health (DH) delivered an extremely technical keynote speech entitled ‘the future of clinical audit’. Newman re-assured the audience ‘that the Department [of Health] remain committed to extending clinical audit’ and pointed to an annual spend of £7.4 million on NCA’s and plans to fund four new NCA’s in the near future. She stated that the DH expect all NCA’s to attain high participation rates and that Trusts should view clinical audit activity as a ‘natural overhead’ with audit internally viewed as a ‘mainstreamed business practice for any Trust’. On perhaps a more controversial note, Newman reiterated plans to make some established NCA’s subscription-based in future. It is not precisely clear how this will be achieved and what costs would be involved for local Trusts. CASC have asked the Department of Health for further clarification of these plans and we will make the details available via our website at the earliest possible opportunity.

CASC launch new Clinical Audit Teaching Toolkit


On day two of the conference the Clinical Audit Support Centre (CASC) delivered a 90-minute workshop focusing on the effective delivery of clinical audit training. As part of the workshop, CASC revealed that they will soon be releasing their new Clinical Audit Teaching Toolkit (CATT). The toolkit is full of tried and tested interactive teaching materials that clinical audit professionals will be able to use in order to enhance locally delivered audit training sessions. The CATT includes quizzes, card-sorts, videos, etc that make clinical audit training interesting and fun for learners. The costs of the toolkit is £50 for those who have previously taken part in our Train the Trainer in Clinical Audit course and £100 for those wishing to buy separately. More details of the toolkit will be available very soon.

The conference debate: targeted re-audit is appropriate in 2011


On day two of the conference CASC Directors, Stephen Ashmore and Tracy Ruthven took part in a debate with Ann Burnett and Kate Godfrey looking at the value of targeted re-audit in 2011. Stephen and Tracy opposed the motion, stating that targeted re-audit (which involves re-auditing only non-compliant standards from the first data collection stage) is methodologically unsound and constitutes low-grade clinical audit. Ann and Kate made the point that the overwhelming burden of work means that local audit teams must now use targeted re-audit as a way of ensuring that audit projects are completed. The debate proved lively and fun with Kate and Ann receiving the support of the audience in the final vote.

In other news from the conference


Obviously it is impossible to feature all of the themes and key points raised during the two-day event in London, but it is worth mentioning: an excellent presentation by Dr Jaya Verma which looked at a survey of 1428 junior doctor’s views of clinical audit and concluded that audit may not always be an effective use of junior doctors time; the keynote presentation by solicitor, Gerard Hanratty, which concluded that in most instances Trusts will need to make their audit reports available to the public in the event of a Freedom of Information request, and Sean Brennan’s summation that for the success of clinical audit in the future ‘data quality is key’.

In other news

CASC announce details of 2011 Junior Doctor Clinical Audit competition


After the unprecedented success of CASC’s first-ever ‘junior doctor of the year’ competition in 2010, CASC would like to inform E-News readers that we are now taking entries for the 2011 competition. Last year’s event led to over 120 entries and it is likely that this figure will be surpassed in 2011. The competition is open to all junior doctors who have undertaken a clinical audit project in the last three years and finalists will be invited to showcase their work at CASC’s national audit conference in Leicester this October. There are three prizes on offer for entrants and the winners will be invited to write their work up in the Clinical Audit Today e-journal. Winners will also receive a range of other prizes! Those wishing to participate in the competition can obtain further details, including the electronic entry form, by clicking here. All entries must be received by 31st July 2011.

Official: clinical auditors need to be leaders!


One of the key messages delivered at the recent Clinical Audit and Improvement conference was Professor Nick Black’s statement that local clinical audit professionals need to become leaders! With this in mind, CASC would like to announce that our new leadership course will be held again on 29th June 2011. This first took place on 28th January and 100% of attendees stated that they would recommend the course to others. Feedback from the first event was exceptional but we still plan to make further improvements. The course is delivered by the CASC team and international best-selling author and trainer extraordinaire, Andy Cope. The course is accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and you can access further details by clicking here.

Draft findings from CASC's national audit survey


Initial results from CASC’s online national clinical audit survey are now available. The online survey was conducted in conjunction with SNAP surveys and over the course of 10 days prior to Christmas a total of 182 clinical audit professionals completed the survey. Key findings show that 1 in 4 respondents intend to leave the field of clinical audit in the next 5 years, 78% of respondents stated that local audit was more effective than national audit at improving patient care and 4 times as many respondents stated they had less resources to conduct audit than those who said they had more, compared with 12 months previously. CASC will be producing more detailed reports on the findings of the survey but if you would like to look at the draft findings, please click here.

Important personnel changes to national audit groups


We would like to inform the clinical audit community of a number of key personnel changes relating to two key national clinical audit bodies. First of all we would like to congratulate Colin Bryant (Clinical Audit Manager at East of England Ambulance Service) on his new post as Chairman of the National Audit Governance Group (NAGG). Colin replaces Julie Bone from Telford and Wrekin PCT as NAGG Chairman. We would also like to congratulate Dr Katherine Birch (Head of Clinical Audit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital) on her new post replacing Martin Ferris as the clinical audit representative on the National Clinical Audit Advisory Group (NCAAG). We also understand that there will be several new NCAAG appointments announced very soon.

CASC conduct Formic experiment


Members of the CASC team have recently conducted a software processing experiment in conjunction with Formic Fusion. The experiment involved the CASC Directors, Stephen Ashmore and Tracy Ruthven, manually inputting 100 clinical audit forms against the clock and comparing this with the speed and accuracy of Formic’s electronic scanning devise. CASC completed the trial in 37.38 minutes compared to Formic’s 18.65 minutes. The accuracy of data entry was comparable for both tests and this indicates that Formic’s scanning software is 50% faster in terms of processing forms than manual scanning. To read more on the experiment, click here.

New version of ‘Principles book’ now available


The Clinical Audit Support Centre are delighted to announce that the updated version of Principles of Best Practice in Clinical Audit (first published in 2002) is now available. CASC have been heavily involved in updating the book and the new version is authored by HQIP CEO, Robin Burgess. Additional sections of the book have been written by: Nancy Dixon (Healthcare Quality Quest), Christopher Loughlan (Cambridge Institute of Research) and John Bullivant (Good Governance Institute). The book is 214 pages and you can order your copy via Radcliffe Medical Press (book publisher) or Amazon.

Tell your friends/colleagues about our E Newsletter


Since we launched our E Newsletter in February 2007 over 1,000 healthcare professionals have signed up! The E News is free and delivered direct to your email account every two months. The newsletter provides you with a mix of CASC-related and other clinical audit news to help you keep up to date with what is happening in the world of clinical audit. Don’t forget, if you have missed a previous issue of E News please visit the community section of our website where all previous issues are archived. Please email to sign up for your copy: info@clinicalauditsupport.com

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The next issue of the E News will be released on 1st April 2011.

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