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The Ultimate Guide to Audits

How to improve completion and compliance
The ultimate guide to audits from inphase
| Robert Hobbs | Quality Assurance

Whether you are involved in healthcare, emergency services, local government or any regulated services industry, audits are a part of your work and organisational oversight.

As part of our work, supporting these services in achieving swift, triangulated compliance, assurance and continuous improvement, we’ve worked with a number of organisations to discover how to make these processes better and really elevate the way your data is collected, analysed and used.

What is an audit?

An audit is a series of questions about certain process that help you determine that they’re being done correctly. These processes are integral to the day-to-day running of your organisation and crucial to understanding the current standing of things and where they need improving.

You conduct audits for a number of reasons, but mainly to understand how your service is performing against certain standards. They help you identify critical issues and ways to advance what you’re doing and create steps towards improvement, as well as highlight ways you can become more efficient and effective.

What are some common problems with audits?

With certain ways of managing audits, like with slow digital systems, pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets, audit data collection, reporting and analysis takes incredible amounts of time. Often there’s no easy way to see results of audits to ensure compliance and plan for improvement, as several documents need to be collated and examined for proper understanding.

This leads to a distain towards audits, or a general feeling of ‘there’s not enough time’ in amongst the hectic nature of the day-to-day. In turn, there are lower audit completion rates and an uncertainty of compliance and a lack of assurance that things are running as they should be.

What does the ideal audit management process look like?

The ideal audit management process needs to include several factors to make it as efficient and effective as possible. It’s important to remember that the process doesn’t finish at data capture, and how you manage reporting, analysis and subsequent action management are also crucial factors.

A digital solution

For the ideal audit management process, it’s important that it is digital. Digital management processes open up a new level of potential for your data. Not only is data capture faster , easier, and more reliable but reporting, analysis and actions can all be done directly from the data capture. A digital audit management system needs to be able to run at high speed across any modern device, be it smartphone, tablet or desktop, and accesses anywhere at any time for complete, uninhibited access to audits.

Fast and easy to use

To increase compliance rates, it’s important that actions are easy to set and monitor where audits identify issues. For audits to reliably identify issues, completion rates must be at or near the defined target rate.

To increase audit completion rates to their target level it’s important that your audit management system is fast and easy to use. That means digital. When the process is digital, it’s more likely that this will be a by-product of ditching manual systems. However, this digital system must be responsive, for example have the option to only display relevant fields to speed up the data capture process.

Furthermore, the data must be immediately stored in a central databases for quick and easy analysis and action planning.

Audit Actions

With old fashioned systems, defined for tick-box and filing rather than continuous improvement, actions were often difficult to create, manage and assure. With InPhase Audit Oversight, this activity is as easy as the audit itself. Actions can be immediately created, by the person taking the audit, or by the audit approver.

Assigning, tracking and reporting audit actions is built-in and real-time.

Triangulated and integrated

Once you have captured your audit data, it should be leveraged to death to support your quality improvement work. If you are able to triangulate audit data against other key quality information, incident data, KPIs and more, you’ll be able to fully exploit this data, see where the impacts fall and create actions to improve. These actions can then be aligned with broader goals for improvement to drive out waste and speed up improvement.

Customisable and unlimited

It’s quite frustrating to only be able to collect certain data that may not cover a broad enough spectrum for your specific lines of improvement enquiry. It’s important that you’re able to adapt, customise and create audits with changes deployed immediately organisation wide, so that you can capture and analyse what you deem necessary. In addition to this, creating new audits to cover different areas should be available to you, without having to wait for these changes to be made by your system supplier.

Real-time updates and reporting

To shorten improvement cycles, real-time updates and reporting is crucial to your audit processes. It’s vital that you are able to see current rates of compliance for assurance purposes as well as understanding where completion of audits are falling short and ensure that the data is being collected. Data needs to be presented clearly and visually so you can see the impacts, associated risks and how you are doing in comparison to your KPIs.

See the system that that improved real-life daily hygiene audit completion rates for over 5,000 staff from 72% to 95% in 4 weeks. Watch Paula Simpson from Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust explain how they improved their completion rates.

Thankfully, this ideal audit management system doesn’t just exist in theory. Audit Oversight from InPhase was designed with organisations like yours in mind, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of audits and elevate the way your data is used.

To see this system in action, or to find out more, speak to an InPhase expert today.

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Robert Hobbs

Chief Executive Officer

InPhase’s Chief Executive and Founder, Robert has been the visionary leading InPhase to be one of the UK's leading providers of management, governance and assurance solutions, and helping organisations align their actions and goals more easily and efficiently with InPhase's suite of integrated apps.

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