Random Assessment visits are used to assess the maintenance of QCPP standards in QCPP accredited pharmacies. The only routine Random Assessment done by QCPP at this time is the annual Mystery Shopper visit. These visits are conducted by a contracted Mystery Shopper who is accompanied by the Pharmacy Guild’s QCPP State Manager (QSM) and/or Pharmacy Liaison Officer (PLO) in each state/territory.
A Mystery Shopper visit involves:
At no time is any individual pharmacy staff member identified in the Mystery Shopper program.
In order to ensure that the feedback provided to pharmacy proprietors/managers and their staff is accurate, the interaction is digitally recorded. The recording is not used for any purpose other than to verify the accuracy of the contractor’s report of the interaction and to assess the interaction for compliance with the supply protocols and quality of advice given.
The Mystery Shopper report and the recording are scored by a pharmacist according to predetermined criteria based on the accepted supply protocols and an Expert Reference Group marking scheme. Typically the scoring is based upon supply protocols included in the mandatory S2/S3 training such as CARER, “Ask, Assess, Advise” or “What, Stop, Go”.
A result is allocated with ‘Unsatisfactory’ representing a score from 0 (no information sought) to 3; ‘Satisfactory’ representing a score from 4-6; and ‘Excellent’ representing a score from 7-10. All accredited pharmacies can expect to receive at least one Mystery Shopper visit per year. A report on the result of the Mystery Shopper visit is sent to the pharmacy.
Summary reports that remove any identification of the pharmacies involved are received by the Guild and used to improve the QCPP standard and other important programs.
Overall, there has been a significant improvement in the average Random Assessment score since the program began in 2002 and it has been found that pharmacies consistently perform better on scenarios involving Symptom Based Requests (SBRs) than they do on those involving Direct Product Requests (DPRs). Within DPRs, requests for Pharmacist Only Medicines are dealt with better than requests for Pharmacy Medicines. More recently a combination of the SBR and DPR scenarios are being used where the pharmacy staff member is asked if a product is suitable for a described condition.
The findings of the Mystery Shopper program are regularly reported in the QCPP’s Excellence newsletter and are used to improve the recognition of the quality of service offered by Australian community pharmacies.
The Mystery Shopper program has helped to create an impressive body of evidence that has already been used to demonstrate the health benefits associated with the current model of Community Pharmacy, particularly when it comes to providing health information and advice to consumers.