Intended for healthcare professionals


Improving, and auditing, access to clinical trial results

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 15 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g213

Re: Improving, and auditing, access to clinical trial results

I think there are two ways that we might improve the contribution that clinical audit can make to stimulating improvement in the quality of care. One is to re-establish a central repository of information on the 50-60 national clinical audits in England. A previous attempt (Directory of Clinical Databases) provided not only information on the data available but also an independent assessment of the quality of the data in the national clinical audit. [1] Unfortunately after a few successful years the NHS Information Centre decided not to maintain it though it can still be found archived on the web. [2] There is a current initiative, funded by NHS England and led by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, to create a new resource during 2014.[3]

The second approach needed is along the lines suggested by Michael Smith. I agree that there are lots of imaginative and enterprising examples of local quality improvement initiatives out there. A website that highlighted the best and most successful ones would help their dissemination and wider uptake. However, it would be essential to ensure that such a resource was kept up to date, often a challenge after the initial enthusiasm starts to wane.

1. Black N, Payne M. Directory of Clinical Databases: improving and promoting their use. Quality and Safety in Health Care 2003;12:348-352

Competing interests: I chair the Nationaal Advisory Group for Clinical Audit & Enquiries that advises NHS England

31 January 2014
Nick Black
Professor of Health Services Research
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH