BPC consultant continues to spearhead the drive for audit and transparent results

Mr Alan Doherty

BPC consultant Alan Doherty is continuing to spearhead the drive for improving the way doctors record, audit and reflect on the outcomes of their treatment.

In his NHS post, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, he has introduced a new system for scrutinising results, bringing together professionals from different disciplines.

“We know that the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) is a really good concept, with surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, anesthetists and nurses coming together to discuss treatment approach,” explains Mr Doherty.

“However, the purpose of MDT is to agree what is the best treatment approach for an individual patient, not to reflect on and scrutinise results.

“For that purpose, we have what is termed the MM group (morbidity and mortality). But this falls short for three reasons: doctors present data from the previous month, so we lack a bigger picture of a year’s data which is necessary to see any recurring patterns.

“The MM group does not have the multi-disciplinary constitution of MDT, so it lacks the level of scrutiny and debate you get when you have different professionals with different clinical backgrounds and perspectives. Finally, MM groups can be poorly attended.”

Now, Mr Doherty has established a new system, called Multi-Disciplinary Audit (MDA) to address these problems. The MDA is attended by doctors and nurses from different specialties and each specialty is asked to provide annual outcomes data.

“This is something I am deeply committed to,” says Mr Doherty. “The concept of performance measuring has been central to industries like business and engineering for many years now, but in medicine, we are still falling short in this area.

“The new MDA system is being embraced by my colleagues who welcome this as a systematic way of ensuring outcome measurement becomes an integral part of what we all do.”