Assessing the Information Needs of Practitioners at the Local Level
There is a constant need for all doctors to review the quality of their professional activities if standards are to be maintained or improved. British general practitioners are increasingly being encouraged to incorporate standard setting and systematic performance review (audit) as an integral part of their day to day work. A central feature of formal audit must be the gathering of objective evidence of performance. This would replace our former reliance on unsubstantiated opinions and impressions and would identify the gap between assumed and actual levels of performance. Such objective evidence can then be compared with agreed standards to identify, implement and evaluate appropriate changes in doctor behaviour. There is now increasing evidence that this approach is successful in improving standards of practice and cost effectiveness.