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Obtaining patient feedback for quality assurance of undergraduate dental teaching

Introduction In order to achieve the educational standards of the General Dental Council, providers of UK dental education programmes are required to demonstrate that feedback from patients is collected and used to inform programme development. Aims To determine areas of undergraduate dental training programmes that patients feel able to comment upon, allowing development of a patient feedback questionnaire. Methods Patients receiving treatment from undergraduate students were recruited to focus groups (n = 5, n = 6) where their experience of receiving student care was explored. Audio transcriptions were analysed for emergent themes. These themes informed the design of a questionnaire which was presented to a further patient focus group (n = 4) for content and face validity testing. Staff (n = 4) and student (n = 8) focus groups discussed its delivery. Results Patients were able to comment upon treatment quality, safety, the student-teacher interaction, and appointment times. An 18-question questionnaire was developed to include free text comments and answers on a visual analogue scale. It was modified following focus groups with patients, staff, and students. Conclusion Patients undergoing student treatment identified aspects of the clinical teaching programme that could be included in a feedback questionnaire. Following a pilot, the questionnaire will form part of the teaching quality assurance process.

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Correspondence to Zoe Freeman.

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Freeman, Z., Ellis, J., Holmes, R. et al. Obtaining patient feedback for quality assurance of undergraduate dental teaching. Br Dent J 226, 287–291 (2019).

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Key points

  • Highlights why patient feedback is required in dental education.
  • Discusses the rationale for exploring patients' experience of care when designing a patient feedback questionnaire.
  • Demonstrates the value of the patient voice in the design of a patient feedback questionnaire.


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