The Bath Audit Course
the most simple way of understanding audit
05 Setting Standards
Both the Criteria and Standards define what should be happening.
Have a go at defining what an audit standard is.
How does it compare with this?
- “An audit standard is a minimum level of acceptable performance for that criterion.”
- “At least 80% of eligible women aged 25-65 should have had a cervical smear in the last 5 years.”
- “At least 60% of asthmatics should have had a Peak Flow recorded in the past year.”
- “100% of drugs in our doctors’ bags should be in-date.”
The standard should reflect the clinical and medico-legal importance of the criterion.
- in the example above, 80% of women should have had a cervical smear,
- But of those who’ve had an abnormal smear, 100% should have had action taken.
Standards may change with time:
- 70% of patients with IHD should have a cholesterol <5.2mmol/l – this is pertinent clinically today because the NSF says so
- but in the future a higher standard may be expected as a result of clinical governance.
- Some criteria are so important that they need 100% standard.
- However, 100% standards are unusual – patients or circumstances usually conspire against perfection and the standard needs to reflect that.
- Your literature search should give you an idea of what standards others have managed to reach.
- Your standard needs to follow on directly from your criterion – for example,
- “Patients on thyroxine should have had TFTs done in the last year; this should have happened in at least 90% of patients”.
The Bath Audit Course, Designed by Dr Michael Harris (Bath)