Patient journey mapping

Patient journey mapping also called healthcare process mapping is a tool healthcare leaders use to better understand how patients interact with a hospital or healthcare system through their healthcare journey. Today's healthcare consumers tend to conduct extensive research before selecting a healthcare provider. In order to effectively reach and engage such selective, value-driven patients, health providers need to focus on creating excellent experience for patients that lead to increase brand awareness, higher conversion, and patient retention. The best way to understand end to end customer experience and determine places for improvement is by mapping the entire patient journey.

1. Benefits that patient journey mapping offers

  1. Create personalized experiences for each patient by deeply understanding their needs and preferences.

  2. Better understand patient experiences throughout each stage of interaction with the health system and exposes gaps and opportunities for improvement in patient communications.

  3. Unlock opportunities to improve pre- and post-clinical patient engagement through timely, targeted outreach efforts and boosts retention rates by reinforcing long-term patient relationships.

  4. Improve communication between patients and their care providers. Healthcare journey maps help to eliminate uncertainties and inconsistent communications.

  5. Reduce pain points by spotting problems with ease.

  6. Provide continuous improvements for the care process using insights from the care journey.

2. Stages of the Patient Journey

While the details of every patient journey differ by disease state, most follow a pattern of similar stages. Each stage of the journey typically comprises tasks, needs, and touchpoints. Tasks are activities the patient completes during the stage (tasks can be further broken down into sub-tasks). Needs are the opportunities to deliver benefits to patients that occur during the stage, often through a product or service.

  • Awareness

Patient journeys always begin with a trigger, which is typically the onset and recognition of symptoms. If the symptoms are severe enough, a patient may seek a diagnosis from a healthcare practitioner (HCP) or another trusted source (though not always a credible one), such as online communities (posing questions on social media, etc.). A patient's journey starts when they arrive at your digital front door. This is not necessarily a single place, it might include pay-per-click ad, a third party listing, or your health system's contact center.

  • Contact

The patient makes initial contact with a health system via call center, chat, email, mobile, or an in-person visit.

  • Care

The patient is assessed at a medical facility (physician’s office, hospital, etc.)

  • Treatment

The health system provides patient with both on-site and follow-up care (prescription, physical therapy, counseling, suggestion of life style changes)

  • Behavioral/Lifestyle Change

The patient makes changes to daily routines and takes part in proactive healing in order to reduce readmissions and promote long-term wellbeing.

  • Ongoing Care/Proactive Health

The patient manages his or her care between clinical visits; meanwhile, the health system fosters engagement between the patient and physician in order to enable the patient to address symptoms and maintain good health. This patient retention phase is a crucial part of the patient journey that is often forgotten after a patient receives treatment. Getting feedback is necessary so you can gather insights into patient experiences and satisfaction. The patient’s input can then be used to improve patient journey mapping, which ultimately helps to improve the patient experience, as well as quality of care and process efficiency.

The patient journey map, which outlines all of the patient touch points during each stage of interaction, aids in the creation of strategic outreach that improves both patient engagement and satisfaction.

By: VSHR Digital Media

Source:1. Patient Journey Mapping, mercuryhealthcare

2. An Introduction to Patient Journey Mapping, LinkedIn, Feb 2017

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