Use of standardised patients for healthcare quality research in low- and middle-income countries

Use of standardised patients for healthcare quality research in low- and middle-income countries

By Ada Kwan, Benjamin Daniels, Sofi Bergkvist, Veena Das, Madhukar Pai, and Jishnu Das
BMJ Global Health , 12 September 2019

The use of standardised patients (SPs)—people recruited from the local community to present the same case to multiple providers in a blinded fashion—is increasingly used to measure the quality of care in low-income and middle-income countries. Encouraged by the growing interest in the SP method, and based on our experience of conducting SP studies, we present a conceptual framework for research designs and surveys that use this methodology. We accompany the conceptual framework with specific examples, drawn from our experience with SP studies in low-income and middle-income contexts, including China, India, Kenya and South Africa, to highlight the versatility of the method and illustrate the ongoing challenges. A toolkit and manual for implementing SP studies is included as a companion piece in the online supplement.

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