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Mystery shoppers take the mystery out of the patient experience

When Angela Simpkin arrived at the urgent care, she couldn't tell where she was supposed to check in. Paper signs were taped all over the glass reception window. The scowling receptionist seemed unaware of her arrival. When Simpkin (not her real name) asked for assistance, the scowler pointed to a stack of forms and a sign that demanded, "Please complete form before registering." "I was so irritated I was ready to turn and walk out," she says. "But then I remembered that as the mystery patient, this is exactly what I was here for-to observe and stay tuned into my reactions to the encounter. In less than two minutes, I had a pretty good idea about the real patients' experience."

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