Objective To evaluate the quality of paediatric audits published from 2005–2006, utilising the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine Levels of Evidence (May 2001) to define standard quality.
Methods PubMed, EmBase and EBSCO searching was performed using MeSH terms for relevant articles: audit, child, neonate and paediatric. Predefined core elements of audits were used as inclusion criteria for entry of an article into this study. These were: (1) an article deals with a healthcare topic; (2) a standard is predefined; (3) actual practice is evaluated; (4) actual practice is compared with the standard and (5) re-audit. The Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine Levels of Evidence was used. This incorporates two elements: (a) quality of the study ranked 1-5 and (b) level of recommendation ranked A-D.
Results Excluding non-retrieved articles and adult-based articles, the search yielded 293 (100%) paediatric healthcare related articles. Standards were defined in 131 (44.71%) articles. Applying the preselected audit tool, the quality of the standard was defined as follows: 3 (2.29%) level 1, 16 (12.21%) level 2, 5 (3.817%) level 3, 3 (2.29%) level 4, 104 (79.389%) level 5. Audit against standard was performed in 110 (37.54%) articles. These were graded as: 3 (2.727%) level 1, 21 (19.09%) level 2, 5 (4.545%) level 3, 28 (25.45%) level 4, 53 (48.18%) level 5. 11 (3.754%) articles contained re-audits. Of the 162 (55.29%) paediatric studies rejected, 71 (43.827%) described practice observations.
Conclusion Paediatric audits continue to be published utilising guidelines which are at the base of the evidence-based pyramid.