The ongoing process of information collection and review, leading to changes in practice, leading to further data collection and critical appraisal.
Effective audit is a cyclical activity and includes three key stages.
1. Standards for the delivery of care are agreed.
2. Practice is observed and compared to the standards - success is often demonstrated, but so are failings and the need for change.
3. The results are fed back to those providing care so that new or modified standards can be set.
The audit cycle is then carried out once again, and it can be entered at any point.
Audit can assess the structure
(the resources), the process
(use of resources), the output
or the outcome
Audit in palliative care serves not only aims to improve patient care but also to ensure the effective use of resources.
Adapted from Higginson, IJ and Heran J. Palliative care audit: tools, objectives, and models for training in assessment, monitoring, and review. Topics in Palliative Care. Volume 4. Edited by
Portenoy RK and Bruera E. Oxford University Press, 2000, pages 95-118.