The Benefits and Barriers of Internal Quality Audits

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Internal quality audits are an important tool to promote quality improvement in health and social care organisations. They help to identify if a service or a particular department / area is operating as it should be and to a high standard which is in line with best practice and regulatory requirements. It is important for organisations to take the time to develop a robust auditing programme to ensure continuous improvement and effective oversight and monitoring of services.

In HCI’s research paper The Healthcare System: Will We Ever Learn? – A Review of the Common Themes arising from UK and Ireland Healthcare Inquiries”, HCI found that audit was one of the common themes arising between Ireland and UK serious events. For example, in the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Public Inquiry one of the findings detailed was that when audits were carried out, there was no robust mechanism in place, to ensure changes were implemented. When re-audits were required, they were often not undertaken. Similarly, in the Portlaoise Perinatal Deaths Investigation it was found that there was no strategic plan for audit across the Hospital and there was no dedicated staff member with oversight of an audit programme. The Hospital did not have the structures necessary to support an effective system of multidisciplinary audit and applicable guidelines were not implemented within the audit processes.

In this blog we discuss some of the benefits and barriers to conducting internal quality audits.

The Benefits of Internal Quality Audits

The Barriers of Internal Quality Audits


Although there are barriers and challenges to Internal Quality Audits, these can be reduced with clear planning and organisation from the outset. Internal auditing is a valuable tool for all healthcare organisations to be able to identify areas of good practice and areas for improvement.

If you are concerned about the independence or quality of your audits, HCI can assist you. HCI works with our clients to maintain their programmes of independent quality assurance. Our audits incorporate documentation reviews, data analysis, staff interviews, and real time monitoring and observation. HCI Specialists will provide you with advice and guidance in line with the everchanging best practice standards.

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