Arthritis audit wins excellence award for patient involvement

Published: 18 Nov 2020

A national clinical audit that aims to improve the quality of care for people living with inflammatory arthritis in the UK is the winner of a national award for outstanding patient and public involvement.

The National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit (NEIAA) scooped the 2020 Richard Driscoll Memorial Award for demonstrating excellence adapting to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic to sustain patient and public involvement in clinical audit.

The award judges also highly commended the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit which works to improve the health outcomes and experiences of children with diabetes.

Challenges of working through lockdown

Kim Rezel, HQIP’s Patient and Public Involvement Lead and award facilitator said: “We are delighted to have this vehicle to showcase the dedication and expertise of our national audit teams who provide meaningful opportunities for patients and the public to influence and impact their work. This year presented particular challenges for our audit providers and so we asked them to focus their award entries on how they addressed the challenges of working through lockdown and continued to work with their patient partners.

“In choosing the NEIAA as winners, the judges were impressed by the audit’s innovation in moving rapidly to implement an online data collection with patients themselves entering data. Judges felt there was clear evidence of ongoing engagement and communication with audit sites, patient representatives and users of the audit. They also highlighted the significance of the audit’s patient chair co-chairing their webinars for clinicians.”

Jane Ingham, HQIP chief executive and a member of the judging panel, said: “They introduced adaptations that not only mitigated against the effects of the pandemic but have longevity. They embedded change that could well continue after Covid.”

More about NEIAA

The NEIAA audit aims to improve the quality of care for people living with inflammatory arthritis, collecting information on all new patients over the age of 16 in specialist rheumatology departments in England and Wales.

The NEIAA were previously commended in 2019’s awards for their entry demonstrating how they work with a patient panel to understand how best to communicate with patients leading to the creation of innovative videos and a website specifically for patients.

NEIAA is delivered by the British Society for Rheumatology, with support from Kings College London and Netsolving. It is one of 40 national clinical audits and patient outcome reviews commissioned by Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) and funded by NHS England.

Highly commended

The highly-commended entry, the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit, impressed judges with the strong ethos of patient and family involvement and noted that parents are represented in all the decision making. Judges felt this audit demonstrated adaptability to the challenges of Covid-19 and a proactive approach to reaching seldom-heard groups.

Both audits will feature as patient and public involvement case studies on HQIP’s website.

The Richard Driscoll Memorial Award was introduced to acknowledge and reward outstanding patient and public involvement in national clinical audit. It was launched in September 2018 in tribute to HQIP’s former Chair of Trustees, a passionate life-long ambassador for patient care, who passed away in 2017.