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The methodologies with which the delivery of health care is measured are multiple. Whether qualitative or quantitative, there is hardly any facet of clinical practice that does not come under the microscope these days. In the last decade in particular the use of targets and benchmarking has become an increasingly important ingredient of the auditing recipe.

Most audit systems concentrate on specific clinical care (how good we are at diagnosis and treatment) and efficiency of processes and systems, which may also include tracking against a budget or a contract between purchaser and provider. One facet of care also measured to lesser or greater degrees, and sometimes with only lip service paid to it, can be conveniently labelled “patient satisfaction” or “customer care”, depending on your perspective or how politically correct you are. It sometimes comes under the umbrella term “hotel services”.

The Health Service Journal (www.hsj.co.uk), a weekly trade magazine for National Health Service managers and administrators, is always worth an occasional perusal by clinicians. It is an up to date and sometimes …

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