Focus Groups Help Leading Hospital System Correct Acquisition Challenges | Healthcare


Focus Groups Help Leading Hospital System Correct Acquisition Challenges | Healthcare

RRD's comprehensive research identifies sources of poor community reputation, informs patient app development


A regional hospital system based in the Midwest acquired a local healthcare facility to expand its footprint and bolster its services to the region. Unfortunately, the newly acquired facility suffered from a challenging reputation throughout the local community. 

Corrective measures were needed to overcome the challenges associated with the acquisition and to make the new facility a desirable option for medical care. Ultimately, the hospital system sought a qualified research partner to help identify the root cause of the bad reputation and create a path toward improvement. 


The company partnered with RRD’s Data, Insights, and Customer Engagement (DICE) team to both research the existing reputation issues and provide avenues to remedy the hospital system’s concerns. 

The DICE team began by developing a series of 90-minute focus groups comprised of both patients and non-patients to determine the origin of the current, unfavorable opinion. RRD personnel worked closely with internal client teams to develop the following discussion topics for group participants:

  • What qualities do you find attractive in a hospital?  
  • How does the staff interact with each other? Do you sense any conflict or hostility?
  • From what sources do you learn about differences from one hospital to the next?
  • What bothers you or gives you concern when you’re at a hospital?

From the focus groups, researchers learned that the facility’s torn window curtains, frayed carpeting, and seemingly unsanitary emergency room conditions were among key issues that needed to be addressed. All responses were recorded, analyzed, and presented in a report that helped clarify what facility, staff, and policy changes were necessary in order to move forward successfully.

Additionally, RRD helped facilitate usability testing for the hospital system’s new customer-facing app from both current and past patients. Based on collected responses, the company:

  • Removed under-utilized app features 
  • Streamlined process improvements for finding a doctor or location
  • Improved design and visibility of key icons and calls-to-action


The DICE team’s focus group findings were instrumental in identifying the source of the new facility’s reputation issues. The unbiased, third-party assessment provided the hospital system with patient-level pain points to address within the physical infrastructure of the hospital and within certain staff policies. Collected data was then used to create targeted marketing campaigns communicating change efforts to the community. 

Additionally, data from RRD’s usability testing informed modifications to the hospital’s new customer-facing app, leading to a successful launch. Results included: 

  • App downloads 208% higher than the client’s initial goal
  • App retention 14% higher than marketplace averages
  • Top app activities were appointment schedule scans (32K+), location searches (1.5K+), and provider searches (1.5K+)

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