Conducting a clinical audit

  1. Review the National Council for Osteopathic Research Handbook for clinical audit and read about the background and purpose of clinical audit in this resource. If you have any questions, seek advice from the National Council of Osteopathic Research, the Institute of Osteopathy, the General Osteopathic Council, specialist organisation, educational institution or regional group.
  2. Ask yourself two key questions: Why shall I conduct this audit? What do I want to learn about or achieve?

Topics should be considered on the basis of what could be specifically relevant for your practice, in terms your practice profile, continuing professional development, marketing goals or contractual obligations to other organisations.

  1. Look at the example audits provided in the NCOR Clinical Audit Handbook and consider which area of your practice you are interested to explore further.
  2. Once you have decided on the area of clinical audit, you will need to consider:
  3. The standards that you expect from the area. In order to do this, you may need to review the relevant literature and guidelines in the area. An example is provided below about developing criteria and standards for a patient notes audit.
  4. The data that you want to collect. (You may choose to use a pre-existing template from the NCOR Clinical Audit Handbook, or you may choose to design your own template.)
  5. The time period and method of collecting data.
  6. The time period and method of analysis of the data.
  7. The changes that you will make.
  8. The time period and method of re-auditing to determine whether the changes you have made have performed better against the standards that you set.
  9. Recording this process in an accessible form to share with your peer.

On the day / across the defined time period

  1. Set aside sufficient time to collect or review your data.

After the event

  1. Analyse your data or ask someone to analyse your data for you. If you are undertaking the NCORs Patient Reported Outcomes Measure – NCOR will do this for you.
  2. Think about what actions could be undertaken to improve the results. For example, in the example given below about the quality of patient notes, the osteopath redesigned their case note sheet to ensure that relevant information was recorded. This is a very important aspect of CPD and all research and discussion with others to explore options for change counts is part of your CPD.
  3. Implement your change and undertake the audit again in a few months time to see if your changes have made a difference to the standards that you have set.
  4. Reflect on the areas of the Osteopathic Practice Standards that you have covered.


You can also download this information as a pdf below.