Using root cause analysis techniques in clinical audit

Guidance Published: Author: HQIP

Our new Using root cause analysis techniques in clinical audit guide has been co-written in partnership with the Clinical Audit Support Centre (CASC), who ran a series of workshops for HQIP at the beginning of 2015. The guide lays out different tools and techniques for Root Cause Analysis (RCA), that can be used alongside clinical audit when shortfalls in compliance with standards are identified.

The aim of this guide

This guide aims to improve patient care and clinical audit delivery by providing practical advice on how established RCA techniques can 'add value' to clinical audit. The guide is primarily aimed at clinical audit professionals and healthcare staff that participate in clinical audit initiatives at both local and national level.

In addition there are useful templates which can also be downloaded as separate documents below and adapted for your personal use.

Template 1 - Brainwriting

Template 2 - Change analysis grid

Template 3 - Tabular timeline

Template 4 - Time person grid

Template 5 - NGT ballot paper

Template 6 - NGT voting card

Template 7 - NGT results calculator

Template 8 - Run chart rules and table

The guide can be read in conjunction with our Guide to using quality improvement tools to drive clinical audit.  It should also be noted that root cause analysis and some of the techniques described below can also be used as quality improvement techniques in their own right, see our Guide to quality improvement methods.

About the authors

The Clinical Audit Support Centre (CASC) is an independent limited company responsible for providing best practice and support in clinical audit. They assist healthcare professionals and teams to undertake a wide range of quality improvement initiatives. They also help clinical teams deliver safe and effective care and provide accredited training in clinical audit, significant event audit and root cause analysis. You can find out more about the work of CASC by visiting