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Project name: Defining quality in pharmacy

Objectives: To develop a shared understanding of quality in pharmacy and inform new regulatory standards.

The background

The pharmacy regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council, is responsible for setting standards for pharmacy professionals and registered pharmacies in Great Britain. These standards help to make sure people using pharmacy services receive safe and effective care. They approached Clever Together with two goals: they wanted to develop a shared narrative with the sector about quality in pharmacy, and they wanted to co-create new regulatory standards for registered pharmacies with the sector.

By reaching out directly to the sector for its knowledge, expertise and experience, the regulator knew they were more likely to end up with an effective regulatory approach promoting professionalism and driving quality improvement.

The issue they were trying to solve

Their big challenge was how to generate deep insight from ‘the front line’ at a time when there were mixed views and messages from the sector’s leadership and representative bodies. They wanted to take a radically different approach to regulating pharmacies, shifting from a compliance or tick-boxed approach, to one where the focus was on delivering outcomes and quality in pharmacy. This shift in approach could only be achieved if the regulator could demonstrate their approach had been directly shaped by the sector.

Why Clever Together?

The General Pharmaceutical Council chose Clever Together because they saw how our crowdsourcing platform and our qualitative methods could engage the pharmacy sector in a fundamentally different and transparent way. By hosting an online conversation about quality and outcomes, they could reach a much more diverse audience and could be more confident that the feedback was the authentic voice of the profession. Previous engagement exercises had often been dominated by the loudest, not necessarily the wisest or most insightful voices.

Our Journey together

Over 1,000 pharmacy stakeholders got involved in the online workshop and made over 5,500 contributions. Using Clever Together’s grounded theory approach, they were able to take a more confident stance on what quality within the pharmacy sector looked like and to draft regulatory standards which were effective, authentic, focused on quality outcomes, not compliance, and could command the confidence of the sector.

The legacy and impact of our work

The GPhC liked the approach so much they used Clever Together’s online platform to facilitate an online workshop with 1,000s of pharmacy professionals in the development of pharmacy revalidation as well as using it to better engage their own staff and make improvements internally.