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How to Create Patient Journey Mapping for Better Healthcare Experiences?

patient journey

Now is the best time to time to implement patient journey mapping in healthcare. 

According to a survey of 30 US-based health system leaders conducted by Deloitte, 77% of executives said they are actively reimagining their customer journey planning, switching from treatment to achieving and maintaining health and well-being. 

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transformations most stakeholders in the global healthcare system have been waiting for years. In a time of record burnout and intent to leave the job across most healthcare roles, healthcare providers and professionals have access to data-driven solutions that have moved healthcare services beyond physical facilities.  

Today, the care process is not only about an in-person visit to a medical facility but omnichannel experiences, automation, applications, call centers, and wearables. Hence more healthcare providers and professionals have started to embrace the benefits of patient journey mapping. 

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of a customer journey in pharma, determine why an organization needs a pharmaceutical customer journey, and discover how to do patient journey mapping according to the latest practices and trends. 

What is a Patient Journey Map? 

Also called a healthcare customer journey map, a patient journey map is a plan that allows healthcare providers, payers, and public organizations to improve the patient experience and develop a holistic approach to delivering personalized care based on understanding patients’ lifestyles, preferences, and needs. 

What is Patient Journey Mapping?

Patient journey mapping is the process of creating a patient journey map that deals with each patient’s problems at each stage of their interaction with a healthcare organization. 

The Stages of Customer Journey in Healthcare

Here’s how patients interact with care providers:

Stage 1. Pre-Visit Research 

The customer engagement journey starts with a stage when the patient suspects they have some symptoms and goes to social media, forums, and other communities to search for a treatment that doesn’t require professional medical assistance. 

Stage 2. Getting in Touch 

At this stage, the patient realizes they can only do with professional medical care and addresses a healthcare provider directly via an available communication channel or stumble upon the provider’s website after they follow a pay-per-click (PPC) ad or engage with any other means of online or offline promotion. 

Stage 3. Care and Treatment 

After the initial contact, the patient visits the provider’s physical facility and goes through the assessment process with one or several healthcare professionals who provide the care and treatment necessary for the patient’s full recovery. 

Stage 4. Post-Visit Treatment and Retention 

The patient follows treatment recommendations and adjusts their lifestyle to recover from disease under the provider’s supervision. To provide professional care, the provider remains available 24/7 via phone and online. The provider may also engage with the patient via preferred channels in the treatment process to ask about the patient’s condition and provide extra information that would be useful and engaging for the patient to gain the patient’s trust and retain them. 

The Challenge of Patient Journey Mapping: Low Digital Maturity

Healthcare has a big future where automation and technology will predominate. In 2021, the worth of artificial intelligence in the healthcare market amounted to $11 billion worldwide. Statista predicts the global AI healthcare market will face a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37% from 2022, amounting to $188 billion by 2030. 

A substantial shift from traditional to digital is now forcing healthcare organizations to redefine how they provide patient experiences, which may be a significant problem due to low digital maturity. On the other hand, fierce competition and continuously growing access to technology have already encouraged many healthcare organizations to understand their target audiences and engage with them on a personal level. 

In a world where patients have high medical awareness and demand patient-centric treatment, a patient journey map is essential for building a successful marketing strategy within a healthcare organization. 

The Benefits of Patient Journey Mapping 

Here’s why a healthcare organization needs a customer engagement journey map: 

The Culture of Innovation and Digital Maturity

Patient journey mapping encourages healthcare providers to deploy an innovative vision as a part of their growth strategy and cultivate an interest in technology among multiple stakeholders, which increases the organization’s digital maturity and provides a standard for continuous improvements.

The creation of a patient journey map involves the implementation of advanced technology. Chatbots personalize communication with patients. Artificial intelligence generates actionable insights. Automation accelerates data processing.

Data Management and Consolidation in a Single Environment

When a healthcare organization creates a patient journey map, it completely changes how they work with all available information, including patient data. Patient journey mapping fosters healthcare providers to implement a single ecosystem that integrates all the activity areas that affect patient care at all stages of engagement and interaction.

A Complete View of Patients and Enhanced Teamwork

An integrated ecosystem gives organizations a holistic view of their activities and optimizes connections among multiple teams where professionals with varied expertise cooperate to create a patient journey map. It eliminates misunderstanding, leverages resources, and streamlines patient care.

Personalized Patient Care and Experience at Scale

Patient journey mapping helps organizations quickly address the personal needs of each patient, modernize patient flow, design insight-driven predictive models to identify patterns and trends and prevent disease in the future, and make better decisions to create better outcomes and retain more patients.

Improved Patient Retention

After implementing patient journey mapping, providers can develop more effective patient retention strategies. A 360-degree view, personalized care, and advanced technical infrastructure lay a strong foundation for gaining patients’ trust, spreading the word about the organization, and solving business pain points.

The Elimination of Business Pain Points

Along with eliminating the pain points of patient engagement, patient journey maps also help identify pain points inside an organization and improve productivity, accountability, financing, and processes.

High Standards for Marketing and Content Creation

Patient journey mapping standardizes how an organization plans, produces, manages, distributes, and delivers content. Such standards improve the quality of content and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, prompting an organization to keep an eye on the latest trends in healthcare services promotion and digital technology.

How to Create a Seamless Patient Journey Map?

Here are the actions necessary to implement customer journey mapping in healthcare:

Track Existing Patient Journeys

Before healthcare providers begin mapping patient journeys, they ask healthcare professionals to share information about the care journeys they usually go through with their patients. Such information is necessary to analyze the patient experience they currently provide and improve it in the future within a healthcare journey map designed by the care provider.

Collect Patient Feedback Regularly

After gathering input from healthcare professionals, care providers also collect patient feedback. It helps care providers improve their services by identifying gaps during healthcare journey mapping and discovering the information necessary to segment patients into a few target groups and create patient personas.

Identify Patient Personas

A patient persona is an image of a typical patient created using data and qualitative research. Personas are profiles that include all essential patient information, such as demographics, goals, habits, potential pain points, current problems, level of digital maturity, and other characteristics crucial for care providers.

Patient personas give care providers a deep understanding of the actions necessary to expand its online presence and boost the current number of patients, discover the possibilities of patient retention, and improve coordination between stakeholders from different departments and teams.

Patient personas allow care providers to know how to create an exceptional patient experience, specifically create the right content that helps solve patients’ problems, send personalized messages at the right moment via the preferred channels, and provide better services that meet specific needs.

How many personas does a care provider need? The number of patient personas depends on the number of criteria the organization considers missing to view the big picture.

Build the Patient Journey Funnel

Also called the healthcare journey funnel, the patient journey funnel is a scheme to visualize the critical engagement stages between patients and a healthcare organization.

There are four main stages within the patient journey funnel:

  1. Acquisition (Awareness). A patient knows that healthcare organizations provide different solutions and services. The main goal of a healthcare organization at this stage is to promote its solution and services on the official website, third-party websites, search engines, and social media using high-quality content at a large scale and the latest practices in digital marketing.
  2. Consideration (Interest). A patient with a health problem is looking for a solution. The main goal of a healthcare organization at this stage is to get the patient interested in the organization’s solution and services by highlighting unique benefits and advantages competitors don’t have.
  3. Conversion (Decision). After considering the services and solutions of a healthcare organization and its competitors, a patient persona with a health problem is ready to decide about treatment. At this stage, a healthcare organization’s goal is to encourage a patient to engage with a healthcare organization using any preferred communication channels, such as email, phone calls, messaging apps, online chats, PPC ads, SMS, and beyond.
  4. Retention (Loyalty). A patient uses the services and solutions of a healthcare organization. The main goal of the healthcare organization at this stage is to create long-standing and personalized relationships with the patient by establishing continuous communication that brings value so that the patient will address the organization as soon as a new medical issue occurs.

The patient journey funnel helps healthcare providers identify gaps in marketing affairs, fulfill the needs of different groups of patients, and increase patient satisfaction.

Consolidate All Patient Data in One Place

Care providers can successfully implement patient journey mapping only in a single healthcare system that integrates data sources such as:

  • Electronic health records (EHRs) include information about health issues, ongoing care, medications, and other clinical data.
  • Engagement history includes patient feedback, information about patient touch points with a care provider, preferred communication channels, current needs, and other essential details that facilitate retention and increase loyalty.

To build an integrated healthcare system, care providers use software that automates patient acquisition, improves patient flow, and streamlines post-visit patient experience.

Build a Sufficient Digital Infrastructure

A digital infrastructure plays a vital role in the patient journey mapping process. It helps internal stakeholders from multiple teams and departments connect, coordinate actions, and create personalized patient experiences at a large scale using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

With custom CRM solutions, care providers use automation to personalize communication, get a 360 view of each patient to improve treatment and support, implement marketing campaigns and analyze their performance, and gather insights that help healthcare professionals continuously enhance patient journey maps.

In the healthcare industry, mobile apps developed according to specific needs and integrated with CRM platforms are another software that can significantly improve interactions between care providers and patients within journey maps. Patient apps automate data collection, introduce telemedicine services, improve health outcomes, and personalize care.

Create a Healthcare Customer Journey Map with Viseven

With years of expertise in creating customer journeys in healthcare, the Viseven team can help your organization provide a unique patient experience by designing an efficient communication plan based on your brand strategy.

Whatever the level of complexity and scale, our specialists can create a successful patient journey map and develop a digital infrastructure for it where your team will use automation, create personalized marketing campaigns, and analyze results using an effective KPI system.

If your organization needs more details on healthcare journeys and their realization, please contact us now. Our patient journey mapping specialists will reply shortly and provide professional consultation on delivering an exceptional patient experience.

Customer Journey Mapping in Healthcare: Case Study

Viseven helped many organizations in the healthcare industry and many different enterprises in the life sciences industry with no experience create customer journeys based on unique goals and needs.

As a result of cooperation with a top 50 pharmaceutical enterprise that needed a user journey map for multiple scenarios, the Viseven team reached:

  • 98% goal accomplishment
  • 196 new registrations

Download this case study to read how an organization can triple the number of website registrations within 30 days using a combination of two communication channels and high-quality content within the omnichannel customer journey map.

Good luck with creating your customer journey map in healthcare!

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