Peer Review Components

In the Peer Review, there are four main areas in which candidates are assessed:

  1. Clinical Knowledge
  2. Gathering Information
  3. Patient Management and Follow-up
  4. Communication Skills.

The Clinical Knowledge score is derived from the Clinical Knowledge Assessment. The other three components– Gathering Information, Patient Management and Follow-up, and Communication Skills – are derived from the Standardized Patient Interviews.


1. Clinical Knowledge Assessment (CKA)

The “Clinical Knowledge Assessment” (CKA) component of the Peer Review is a case based, open-book multiple choice question examination. It represents relevant, common situations encountered in everyday pharmacy practice. The CKA cases have been written and reviewed by practicing pharmacists to ensure that they are relevant and reflect the type of cases that are seen regularly in everyday practice.

The following references will be provided to the candidates during CKA of the Peer Review:

Individual references provided:

  • Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS
  • Compendium of Therapeutic Choices
  • Therapeutic Choices for Minor Ailments
  • eCPS/eTherapeutics

Shared references provided:

  • Products for Minor Ailments
  • Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation
  • Pediatric Dosage Handbook
  • Dorland’s Pocket Medical Dictionary
  • Hansten & Horn’s Drug Interaction Analysis & Management 

Candidates may bring additional reference texts and a calculator.

The CKA is a computer-based assessment. Internet access is available on the laptops provided. Mobile devices are permitted (e.g. laptop computers, personal digital assistants etc.); however, OCP wireless internet access is not available and candidates are responsible for the independent battery power source of their computer device(s).

Standardized Patient Interviews (SPI)

The “Standardized Patient Interviews” (SPI) case scenarios have also been written and reviewed by practicing pharmacists to ensure that they are relevant to general pharmacy practice.

The following references are provided to the candidates during SPI of Peer Review:

  • Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS
  • Compendium of Therapeutic Choices
  • Therapeutic Choices for Minor Ailments
  • eCPS/eTherapeutics

Candidates may bring additional reference texts. Internet access is available on the laptops provided. Mobile devices are permitted (e.g. personal digital assistants etc.); however, OCP wireless internet access is not available and candidates are responsible for the independent battery power source of their computer device(s). Note that laptop computers are not permitted.

In each of the five SPI cases, a standardized patient will present to the candidate with a prescription or issue. The candidate will be expected to provide usual and customary pharmacy care services. A trained peer assessor (one for each case scenario) will observe and assess the candidate’s interaction with each of the five standardized patients (in the five cases respectively) on three components: Gathering Information, Patient Management and Follow-up, and Communication Skills.

The peer assessors are practicing pharmacists that have been appointed by the Quality Assurance Committee. These individuals, who represent various practice settings, have been specially trained by a consultant to assess members in a standardized fashion.


2. Gathering Information

The “Gathering Information” component of the standardized patient interviews should flow smoothly in an organized, logical and systematic fashion, with the candidate leading the process confidently while encouraging the patient to ask questions and give input. When patients raise an issue of concern which signals a “red flag” in the candidate’s professional opinion, it is important to pursue the issue further, being as thorough as possible and making sure that all necessary information about the potential drug-related problem is gathered.


3. Patient Management and Follow Up

“Patient Management and Follow Up” strategies consist of addressing the most relevant drug-related problems and communicating clearly to the patient in lay terms. This includes discussing contributing factors such as lifestyle issues and devising a plan together to resolve or prevent similar situations from occurring. Patient education is the key when providing practical recommendations to help them make better health care choices. The conclusion of this component of the interview should include reviewing important educational points and providing the patient with an opportunity to ask questions to clarify any outstanding issues. Follow up may be quite informal, for instance, a simple invitation for the patient to call with any concerns, or sometimes it may be more important for the pharmacist (candidate) to contact the patient within an appropriate time frame.


4. Communication Skills

Candidates are expected to demonstrate their ability to communicate through assessment in four domains:

  • verbal expression
  • non-verbal expression
  • empathy
  • organization of the interview/coherence

When “communicating” with a patient, it is important to remain professional, be clear and concise and use language that the patient will understand. Candidates should demonstrate empathy for the patient’s situation, and be willing to help with their drug-related needs. Well-developed listening skills are essential for an effective patient interview. When patients express themselves, candidates should pay attention to their verbal and also their non-verbal messages (for example, facial expression, and body language). Pharmacists may sometimes be too focused on the facts of a situation and miss important patient cues as to how patients are feeling and what really matters to them. Interacting with patients is always a two-way communication where both participants equally contribute to the discussion.

When seeking resources to develop patient interview skills, it is best to combine print resources with live, interactive learning opportunities, as these skills require practice to develop.