Clinical audit activities in surgery.
Surgical Epidemiology and Audit Unit, Royal College of Surgeons, London, UK.
Large scale audits can attract the participation of the majority of surgeons. They require careful planning and must be supported by an infrastructure to co-ordinate the running of the audit and to ensure accuracy of data. Audits can be important sources of information for the development of evidence-based guidelines, and this approach is a good strategy for bringing the lessons obtained from the audit to the profession. Audits that work closely with professional bodies produce the best results and are enhanced by patient representation. Risk stratification is an essential component of comparative studies and should be incorporated to ensure that multi-centre audits are systematic.