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Introduction of clerking pro forma for surgical spinal patients at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (London): an audit cycle

Abstract

As a tertiary referral centre of spinal surgery, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) handles hundreds of spinal cases a year, often with complex pathology and complex care needs. Despite this, issues were raised at the RNOH following lack of sufficient documentation of preoperative and postoperative clinical findings in spinal patients undergoing major surgery. This is not in keeping with guidelines provided by the Royal College of Surgeons. The authors believe that a standardised clerking pro forma for surgical spinal patients admitted to RNOH would improve the quality of care provided. Therefore, the use of a standard clerking pro forma for all surgical spinal patients could be a useful tool enabling improvements in patients care and safety in keeping with General Medical Council/National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines. An audit (with closure of loop) looking into the quality of the preoperative and postoperative clinical documentation for surgical spinal patients was carried out at the RNOH in 2016 (retrospective case note audit comparing preintervention and postintervention documentation standards). Our standardised pro forma allows clinicians to best utilise their time and standardises examination to be compared in a temporal manner during the patients admission and care. It is the authors understanding that this work is a unique study looking at the quality of the admission clerking for surgical spinal patients. Evidently, there remains work to be done for the widespread utilisation of the pro forma. Early results suggest that such a pro forma can significantly improve the documentation in admission clerking with improvements in the quality of care for patients.

  • spine
  • quality in health care
  • audit
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