“Secret Shoppers” In Medicine

Don’t spend a lot of time on this URL. The above title pretty much gives you the message of what I would like you to think about today. Did you know that there are faux patients? People who are perfectly well sent into hospitals to check on the quality of care being delivered by the staff?

I always thought secret shoppers just went from one supermarket to the next, checking on the price of a can of corn.  But having one lying in a hospital bed watching whether or not a nurse washes her hands frankly never occurred to me.  

Okay. You should actually go ahead and spend a few minutes at that URL. You will find that there are agencies like Etch Strategies, that hire trained sociologists to be these secret shoppers and then to craft the story of what is going on at the institution to report out to its senior management. 

Bottom Line. Here it comes again. Wait for it. This is where I generally say “I am of two minds” on this one. And I am saying that again.  

While on the one hand it sounds like these secret shoppers are performing a very important role in safeguarding patient safety, I must admit that if I were an HCP being “spied on,” I would be more than a little miffed.

Interesting trade off!

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