Initiating National Audit Projects

Tips on getting started and how to obtain help for national audit

Well conducted national audit is particularly valuable to our speciality as it encourages us to reflect on our practice and compare it to national benchmarks. It is also part of the process of professional lifelong learning and has increasingly become a contractual requirement. The long term nature of Orthodontic care and the fact that many clinicians work in relative isolation challenges us to devise meaningful projects. These require co-operation across the membership groups and the country. Many local and regional projects will lend themselves to national or web-based projects from which we can all benefit.

The Audit Committee of the BOS is keen to encourage national projects from all of the membership groups.

Tips on getting started

General help and advice/Project design

Any individual or group considering a national project should take account the following:-

1. Develop a clear audit question
2. Either involves setting a standard or audit against an established standard
3. Undertake peer review of the project
4. Validate questionnaires/data gathering methods

The Audit Committee which is part of the Clinical Governance Directorate meets twice a year in London. One of the roles of this committee is to promote and facilitate National Audit. The committee will normally assess proposed national audit projects, provide advice and suggestions prior to approval for national distribution. The Audit Committee also meets annually with the Regional Audit Co-ordinators during the British Orthodontic Conference. This allows the Audit Committee to update the Regional Co-ordinators on National Audit projects which in turn can be shared with their respective regional groups. The Audit Committee requests that all BOS members receive feedback from the authors of National Audit projects normally through publication in the Clinical Effectiveness Bulletin or through presentations at the National Conference

How we can help?

The individuals below are happy to give informal advice from the earliest stage. This may avoid duplication of effort and provide guidance on getting started.

Chair of Audit Committee: Dr Robert Evans

Director of Clinical Governance Directorate: Ms Laura Mitchell MBE  

Editor of Clinical Effectiveness Bulletin: Jadbinder Seehra 

As well as reviewing proposed national audit projects the Audit Committee can assist with the distribution of questionnaire based projects via email (link here for “guidelines for distribution of questionnaires”)

1. Data gathering and analysis
- Agreed funding (see below)
- Local agreements with hospital/trust audit departments
- Enthusiastic individuals/trainees

2. Dissemination of Information
- The Clinical Effectiveness Bulletin publishes local, regional and national projects.
- Previous national projects have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national meetings.
- The audit section of the BOS website

3. Funding Sources
- BOS treasurer (Applications through Clinical Governance Directorate)
- Local agreements with audit departments
- Sponsorship & prizes