This article, recently published by BMJ Global Health, notes that the use of standardized patients is becoming increasingly common as a means to measure the quality of care. The standardized patient methodology is regarded as a gold standard for quality of care measurements in healthcare settings. The article offers a conceptual framework for research designs and surveys that use this methodology.

The article also includes specific examples, drawn from the authors’ experience with standardized patient 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.

Implementing a standardized patient methodology is nuanced and must be done carefully. Therefore, the authors have included a toolkit and manual for implementation that draws from the authors’ experience in both small and large scale settings.