Every year at the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development conference, certain buzzwords bubble up again and again. Here’s one we bet you’ll hear a bunch in Chicago this September:
At Ten Adams, we use this term frequently. As marketers, mapping the patient’s journey from the first symptom through the ultimate outcome is extremely useful. It gives us insight into what points on the journey benefit from certain messages — from beginning to end. The process puts us inside the mind of the patient, rather than the provider. That insight makes us more effective with some other buzzwords you’ll hear – patient engagement, patient acquisition, patient experience.
Mapping the patient journey has become a cottage industry in itself. Certainly, it’s part of what we do with our clients at Ten Adams. But if you’d like to be your own cartographer and map a patient journey for yourself, here are some tools you can use to start the journey.
- Mine your data. Dig into your website stats, call center info, volume and outcome numbers, and especially patient satisfaction survey results. Read the comments to see how your patients feel about their experience.
- Research advocacy websites. A cancer patient goes on a different journey than amaternity patient, but you’ll find many discussions online where people with the same condition share with each other. Listen to what they have to say, their concerns and their complaints, especially about their unmet needs along the way. What confused them? What frustrated them?
- Partner with your providers. The patient journey also impacts delivery of care. Many patients delay care after they search online, often limiting their options for early treatment. Talk to your clinicians to learn what they know and apply their knowledge to your strategy. You may find synergies that benefit your work and theirs.
- Talk to a patient. Surveys and focus groups are great. But even interviewing just one patient can give you insight into the road they’ve traveled, their initial perceptions and how they changed along the way.
Armed with this information, map out a patient journey focused on a specific condition from beginning to end. Make it as visual as you can. You’ll gain keen insights to design effective strategies to reach them.
Want to discuss how to create and implement your patient journey map? Meet me at SHSMD! I’ll be facilitating a SHSMD Academic Medical Center round-table discussion on Monday, September 12. Or, find me at our Ten Adams Booth #205!