Quality indicators and community pharmacy services: a scoping review

Int J Pharm Pract. 2019 Dec;27(6):490-500. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12561. Epub 2019 Jul 2.


Background: Quality indicators are a commonly used improvement tool in health care. There is growing interest and activity in the use of quality indicators to improve community pharmacy practice.

Objectives: To conduct a scoping review of the use of quality indicators for community pharmacy practice, including their methods of development and evaluation.

Methods: Electronic databases (EMBASE and PubMed) were searched to identify papers published between January 2008 and April 2018. No limits were applied for language of publication or country of origin. Studies were included if they reported empirical data regarding the development or evaluation of quality indicators. All study designs were eligible for inclusion. Duplicate independent screening was undertaken of the search results. Data extraction was performed by one reviewer.

Results: Of the 988 records identified from the database search, 15 articles were included. The studies were conducted in 12 countries from six continents. Eleven studies described the development of quality indicators, eight of which included the evaluation of the psychometric properties of the indicators developed. Four studies examined the impact of quality indicators on practice all of which reported improvements in some aspects of quality, mainly with structure indicators rather than those relating to process and outcome.

Conclusions: Whilst there is a growing emphasis on promoting improvement in community pharmacy services, evidence is lacking of the effect of indicators on improving quality. Measurable process and outcome indicators are needed. The future development of quality indicators would also benefit from a multi-stakeholder approach.

Keywords: healthcare quality indicators; pharmaceutical services; pharmacies; pharmacists; quality improvement; quality of health care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services / standards*
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Quality of Health Care*