The purpose of this paper is to evaluate an annual rheumatology regional audit programme that has been running since 2000 in the West Midlands with no additional funding. Specifically it seeks to identify the strengths of, and difficulties with, regional audit and establish if, and how, regional audit differs from local audit.
A qualitative approach was adopted and theoretical sampling used to select seven individuals with a range of experiences of the audit process. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted, recorded and transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis.
The programme was thought to be valuable with unforeseen educational benefits for trainees and in fostering positive relations across the region. Regional audit appears to overcome some of the problems with local audit by utilising resources effectively and having sound leadership. Barriers to regional audit included problems with communication between the organising panel and data collecting units, fostering ownership and ensuring closure of the “audit loop”.
The findings are limited by the small sample and the single region nature of the study. The findings have informed a questionnaire to measure agreement to the perceptions identified and survey change of practice occurring as a result of previous regional audits.
The findings will inform future planning and hopefully ensure sustainability of this large unfunded programme; the findings will also be of use to other regions and specialties looking to adopt regional audit.
Regional audit offers a useful and feasible adjunct to national audit and this paper describes an evaluation of an innovative scheme.
Paskins, Z., John, H., Hassell, A. and Rowe, I. (2010), "The perceived advantages and disadvantages of regional audit: a qualitative study", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 200-209. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777271011063832Download as .RIS
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