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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A prospective study of the practical issues of local involvement in national audit of COPD.

RATIONALE, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: Variation in quality of local services is of great concern to the government and public. National audit is an important means of providing data of comparative performance but is hampered at local level by poor methodology including audit design, standard setting and data collection tools. A pilot audit of the hospital care of patients admitted with acute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was performed in preparation for a national audit programme and was designed and supported by experts. It was hoped to overcome these barriers. We report a prospective evaluation of the practical issues involved in local participation of hospital audit of COPD care within a national framework. METHODS: Hospitals were recruited to the study by random selection and voluntary participation. A clinical audit study was completed over an 8-week period immediately followed by a survey of clinicians and audit staff to identify positive and negative issues of participation and the process required to achieve a successful outcome. RESULTS: Forty-one hospitals were invited to participate, 26 (63%) accepted, and four others volunteered to meet the target of 30 enrolled centres. Reasons cited for non-participation were of inadequate resources amongst either clinicians or audit departments or prior engagement in other national or local audit schemes. Following completion of the audit most (81%) participating units reported it was a useful exercise and were willing to be involved in future audits. Negative aspects of involvement included the lack of dedicated time and manpower for audit, poor information technology and inadequate systems for identifying patient diagnoses either at admission or at discharge and incomplete case note entries. Methodological issues such as study design and data collection tools were not cited as important barriers to participation. CONCLUSION: There is local willingness to be involved in national audit of hospital care of COPD and central provision of expert design of methods and tools may reduce some audit barriers. Nevertheless, priority must be given to improving resources identified to support audit and in improving methods and systems for data capture. These issues appear to be important in most units and represent a potentially serious barrier to achieving widespread local involvement in a national audit programme of COPD care and may also apply to other national audits designed to provide comparative assessment of National Health Service services.[1]


  1. A prospective study of the practical issues of local involvement in national audit of COPD. Roberts, C.M., Lowe, D., Barnes, S., Pearson, M.G. Journal of evaluation in clinical practice. (2004) [Pubmed]
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