Hosting a Patient Focus Group: Part 1

August 29, 2017 Richard Hunt DDS

Hosting a patient focus group can change the way you look at your dental practice. Most of the time, we see our practice not through the eyes of our patients, but through our own. The life of a dentist is hectic, filled with CE, family, and general work hours. At some point, we can benefit from taking the time to learn what commonalities and perceptions our best patients share.

Why I Hosted a Patient Focus Group at My Dental Practice

My wife Amy and I wanted to celebrate our 25th year in practice, so we decided to host a “focus group” of very special patients who represented a wide range of ages and experiences.

With our team’s input, we carefully selected 10 of our “A” patients (engaged, proactive, health oriented, appreciative) and invited them to an after hours reception at our office. The invitation list included some who had been patients for 20+ years, while others were relatively new. Some had completed complex restorative plans, while others had more simple needs. Their ages ranged from 26 to 85.

Questions Asked in the Focus Group Session

We greeted patients with champagne and light hors d’oeuvres. The group mingled while taking turns to have several images created by a professional portrait photographer. These portraits were gifts for the participants.

After a while, we settled in for a session facilitated by one of our “special” patients who prompted the group to think and then share their thoughts about the following questions:

·      What brought you here?

·      What keeps you coming back?

·      What does a nice smile mean to you?

·      What gives you confidence in the Hunts and their staff?

·      Are there any buts?

We rounded out the session with a final question that took a closer look at their ideal dental practice. You can read Part 2 in this series next week, where I’ll reveal the final fascinating question and the results of the focus group.

How do you think a patient focus group would benefit your dental practice? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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Richard Hunt DDS

Dr. Richard Hunt is a native of Rocky Mount, NC and represents the third generation of dentists in the Hunt family. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the UNC School of Dentistry in 1989. Dr. Richard has served his profession as president of the NC Dental Society and the Dental Foundation of N.C. He is also a former chair of the Dental Assisting National Board. Dr. Hunt realizes the importance of life long learning and attends over 100 hours of continuing education every year in order to remain knowledgeable about current topics and techniques in his profession. In turn, he also enjoys teaching other dentists about the joy, happiness and satisfaction that can be achieved through patient care based on a trusting relationship and clinical excellence. Dr. Hunt has served as a member of the Visiting Faculty of the Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education in Key Biscayne, FL. since 2002. He returns regularly to teach dentists from around the world about the clinical and behavioral skills necessary to lead a progressive, health centered dental practice.

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