Audits and Evaluations

A clinical audit is a way to understand whether a service is meeting defined standards of best practice (these may be achieved through a service evaluation or/and research). The results of a clinical audit help to enforce good clinical practice and produce internal recommendations for any necessary improvements. A clinical audit is therefore designed to answer the question, “Does this service reach a predetermined standard?”.
A service evaluation is a way to define or measure current practice within a service. The results of the service evaluation help towards producing internal recommendations for improvements that are not intended to be generalised beyond the service area. Therefore a service evaluation is designed to answer the question, “What standard does this service achieve?”.
The main difference between a service evaluation and a clinical audit is that the latter makes reference to a standard whereas the former does not. Both service evaluation and clinical audit only involve interventions well established within the institution, as opposed to a research project which may involve new interventions.

Contact Pauline Young at pauline.young3@nhs.net for queries regarding clinical audits and evaluations.