An Introduction to Clinical Audit for Radiographers

1. Why audit is essential in the pandemic

During the pandemic, radiology services around the world have needed to adapt rapidly to provide suspected and proven Covid-19 patients with the imaging support that they require, while at the same time maintaining a safe service to other patients requiring access to imaging. During this period of rapid change and disruption, keeping imaging staff and their patients safe is of paramount important.

Safety is a powerful driver of improvement in any healthcare setting, particular as any change carries additional risk. This pandemic has forced change on us very quickly, and while audit may be the last thing on our minds, it is nevertheless more important than ever. Audit is an essential mechanism for imaging departments to work collectively to ensure safety continues to be at the heart of what they do, alongside identifying best practice in the 'new normal' during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. The role of radiography leaders in audit and governance is clear:

“Underpinning a culture of safety are good leadership at all levels, strong governance within the service and a culture of openness and transparency”1

This resource will review the different types of audit and their relevance to a mobile chest radiography service. It will explore the fundamental components of the audit process from initial question design, to identifying criteria and standards, and then to review and dissemination. It will provide examples of audit questions, criteria, and standards that may be relevant to a chest radiography imaging service.