Critically Evaluate How Imaging Departments Can Use Auditing of Their Radiology Reporting Services as a Means of Ensuring High Standards Are Maintained


Clinical Governance
Clinical governance is defined as “… a framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish.” (Department of Health, 1998). Supervision of radiology reporting services should take place within the clinical governance framework (Paterson et al, 2004).
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and National Service Frameworks (NSFs) have developed guidelines and established performance indicators against which progress can be measured. All NHS organisations have a comprehensive quality improvement programme that requires participation in clinical audit (NICE, 2002).
Clinical Audit
Clinical audit is defined as “the systematic and critical analysis of the quality of clinical care, including the procedures used for diagnosis, treatment and care, the associated use of resources and the resulting outcome and quality of life for the patient.” (Morrell and Harvey, 2001). It helps identify opportunities to improve the quality of patient care and clinical practice (Cooper and Benjamin, 2004; Hospital NHS Trust, 2002; and NICE, 2002).
The Clinical Audit Cycle
The clinical audit cycle, as illustrated below, is the basic framework upon which all audit projects are based (Godwin et al, 1996; and Morell and Harvey, 2001).

The topic for audit is chosen and the standards to be expected are defined. An indicator to be measured is specified and a target set. Data is collected and compared with the standard. Changes are implemented to improve performance and the audit repeated to assess if these changes have been effective in meeting the set standard. (Godwin et al, 1996; and Morell and Harvey, 2001).
Audit of Reporting Service
Supervision of the reporting service requires audit of predetermined performance...