“How medical students are becoming increasingly involved in audit”
- By: Richard Thorley
Most medical students are aware of the term “audit.” They vaguely associate it with points and prizes, but historically only fully qualified clinicians have undertaken this seemingly mystical activity. Changes are afoot, however, with students becoming more involved in audit projects and, in some cases, taking on lead roles.
Audit is a continuous, cyclical method of quality improvement. It is one of the constituent parts of clinical governance—the processes by which we improve the quality of healthcare.1 Audits are intended to improve the care of patients by measuring outcomes against predefined standards. Changes in the way healthcare is implemented are made on the basis of an audit’s initial findings, and the system is then re-audited to determine whether those changes have made a difference.
It is important to make a distinction between audit and research. Research involves gathering evidence to make new discoveries that may inform healthcare policy. Audit, on