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Clinical audit in the laboratory
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  1. R T Erasmus,
  2. A E Zemlin
  1. Department of Chemical Pathology, National Health Laboratory Service, Tygerberg Hospital, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Professor R T Erasmus, Department of Chemical Pathology, National Health Laboratory Service, Tygerberg Hospital, University of Stellenbosch, PO Box 19113, Tygerberg 7505, Parow, South Africa; rte{at}sun.ac.za

Abstract

Audits are part of the continuous quality improvement process and one of the key elements of clinical governance. Laboratory-based clinical audits are concerned primarily with the everyday aspects of laboratory services and are a means of providing feedback to the users of the laboratory and its staff. They involve measuring the performance of laboratory services against established standards. These standards have ideally been established using the principles of evidence-based medicine. If necessary, changes are implemented and then a re-audit is performed after a certain time period to ensure that the changes have been implemented and maintained. Areas of audit in the laboratory include the preanalytical, analytical and postanalytical phases. This review article examines the basis of clinical audits in the laboratory and then proceeds to describe in detail how a laboratory-based clinical audit should be performed and monitored, with special reference to the chemical pathology laboratory.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None.