Background Random safety auditing is a simple method that can be applied by frontline clinical staff on the neonatal unit to enhance quality and safety in the routine care of babies.
Aim Following the neonatal medical team's successful application of this audit process in 2009 we adapted the method to include a broader multidisciplinary group (doctors, nurses and therapists) in 2010.
Method The audit team identified key quality and safety priorities and created a list of 20 relevant audit criteria/standards based on unit guidelines.
Each week a random number generator was used to select four standards to audit; two each by the doctors and nurses groups, the staff were unaware of the standard selected for audit. Immediate feedback was given to staff and results were displayed on the notice boards in the unit each week. The result trends and strategies for improvement were discussed during the unit meeting every other week. The audit cycles were repeated five times over an 8 month period.
Results Adherence to the standards improved over time (see table 1).
Conclusion Random safety auditing is an effective method for detecting errors and deviations from unit guidelines and protocols. The real-time auditing with immediate feedback facilitates improvement and change in practices over a short period of time and was well received by the neonatal unit staff.
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