Using health care audit to improve quality of clinical records: the preliminary experience of an Italian Cancer Institute

Chiara Cadeddu, Maria Lucia Specchia, Pasquale Cacciatore, Raffaele Marchini, Walter Ricciardi, Costanza Cavuto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction. Audit and feedback are recognized as part of a strategy for improving performance and supporting quality and safety in European health care systems. These considerations led the Clinical Management Staff of the “Regina Elena” Italian Cancer Institute to start a project of self-assessment of the quality of clinical records and organizational appropriateness through a retrospective review. Materials and Methods. The evaluation about appropriateness and congruity concerned both clinical records of 2013 and of 2015. At the end of the assessment of clinical records of each Care Unit, results were shared with medical staff in scheduled audit meetings. Results. One hundred and thirteen clinical records (19%) did not meet congruity criteria, while 74 (12.6%) resulted as inappropriate. Considering the economic esteem calculated from the difference between Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) primarily identified as main diagnosis and main surgical intervention or procedure and those modified during the Local Health Unit (LHU) assessment, 2 surgical Care Units produced a high negative difference in terms of economic value with a consequent drop of hospital discharge form (named in Italian “scheda di dimissione ospedaliera”, SDO) remuneration, 7 Care Units produced about the same medium difference with almost no change as SDO remuneration, and 2 Care Units had a positive difference with a profit in terms of SDO remuneration. Concerning the quality assessment of clinical records of 2015, the most critical areas were related to medical documents and hospital discharge form compilation. Conclusions. Our experience showed the effectiveness of clinical audit in assessing the quality of filling in medical records and the appropriateness of hospital admissions and the acceptability of this tool by clinicians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-343
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • audit
  • clinical records
  • healthcare
  • planning
  • quality improvement


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