Using the Simulated Patient Methodology in the Form of Mystery Calls in Community Pharmacy Practice Research: A Scoping Review Protocol

Community pharmacies (CPs) play a major role in health care delivery. The simulated patient methodology (SPM), which is considered the “gold standard”, is recommended for studying CP practice. SPM can be applied in different forms, which include visits and also calls (“mystery calls”). So far, only the role of visits in the investigation of CP practice is known. As the first study worldwide, a systematic map of such reports will be provided, which applies calls in the context of the SPM for the study of CP practice. Reports with the pharmacy staff as the population under study should be included. Reports should be included that conduct an investigation using the SPM in the form of calls to simulate patients and other customers. Reports should be included that examine CP practice as defined by the International Pharmaceutical Federation and the World Health Organization (FIP/WHO). The scoping review methodology will be applied using the associated guidelines from Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) and PRISMA extension for Scoping Review (PRISMA-ScR). The search will be for both published and unpublished original research in English with transparent information on SPM until the end of 2022. The plan is to search Embase, MEDLINE via PubMed, and Web of Science. Directly afterward, the respective literature collection of the reviewers and the reference lists of suitable international reviews will be searched. This will be followed by a forward and backward snowballing in Google Scholar. For the inclusion of reports, a selection process and for the data extraction a data charting process with the help of variables derived from related reviews and from two SPM-form spanning international guidelines will be performed. The data extracted from the included reports should be synthesized and presented in MS Excel tabular form using the previously determined variables.


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