Domain 2:

Safety and Quality: Audit

Audit: Setting Standards

3. Setting Standards

An audit standard quite simply describes the level of care to be achieved for any particular criterion. It is unlikely that you will find actual percentage standards quoted in the literature or in clinical guidelines, but there are now target levels of the new GMS contract which could be used.  You should arrive at the desired level of care (standard) by discussing and agreeing the appropriate figures with colleagues.  There is no hard rule about standard setting - the agreed level is based on both you and your colleagues' professional judgement and this will obviously vary between practices for a variety of medical, economic and social reasons.

Examples of audit standards:

  1. 90% of patients with a previous myocardial infarction should be prescribed aspirin, unless contraindicated.
  2. 80% of patients with chronic asthma should be assessed at least every 12 months.
  3. 75% of patients should wait no longer then 20 minutes after their allotted appointment time.
  4. 100% of GPs' medicine bags should contain a supply of in-date adrenaline.
  5. 95% of surgeries should start within their allotted times.
  6. 70% of blood pressure measurements of known hypertensive patients should be <140/85.

Agree on a standard which you all believe to be an ideal or desired level of care and briefly explain why each standard was chosen (remember that different standards can be applied to each criterion). The standard(s) set should be outlined together with a time-scale as to when you expect it to be achieved (for example, within 3 months if that is how long you envisage it will take to complete the audit project).  In some cases you might require to set realistic targets and a time scale towards the desired standard over a longer period of time.  For example, 50% of asthmatic patients should have a management plan within 4 months, rising to 70% in 12 months, and surpassing 80% within 24 months.

Points to consider:

  • Agree on and set a measurable standard for each criterion (as in the above example).
  • A time scale towards achieving this standard should be included alongside.
  • Briefly explain why each standard was chosen.

This page was last updated on: 15/05/2015