Clinical audits improve the functioning of patient-specific processes
Background In 2017–2018, a feasibility study on the clinical coordination of public health and occupational health services was conducted in Central Finland. With the new model, return-to-work periods among patients with back surgery were shortened.
The new model was adopted in 2019 in Central Finland and it was expanded to also cover patients with depression, an orthopaedic implant, and ischaemic heart disease. Functioning of the new model was assured by repeated clinical audits of observed patient-specific processes in 2019 and 2020. The aim was to study how a clinical audit enhances adoption of the new model. Clinical audits have not been carried out previously from a patient perspective in our health care.
Methods Functionality of the model was assessed using clinical audit methods focusing on patient processes across organizational boundaries. Identified problems were solved by the clinical staff responsible for efficient processes.
Results Functioning of patient processes was improved significantly in all four patient groups between the repeated audits.
Conclusions Improvements in functioning of the new model provided evidence that in order to enhance adoption of the new model, patient processes across organizational boundaries should be assessed by clinical auditing.
D.Sc. (Health Care), Work Ability Coordinator
Central Finland Health Care District