When a patient comes into your office, they’re feeling all sorts of things – fear, overwhelm, and apprehension, not to mention the actual symptoms of their current health condition. And they’re turning to you for help.
As a practitioner, that’s what we do, right? We review their intake forms and then jump right into the nitty-gritty details of the tests you need and the supplements they need to get their journey started. You’re excited to help them go from where they are now to the healthy, thriving life you know is possible for them.
But here’s the problem: you already know what their journey will look like – you can map it out in your head. But guess what? Your patient doesn’t. They try to keep up with everything you’re saying, nodding and smiling all the while, even though they continue to feel uncertain and overwhelmed at the process.
This is where you can turn that around. One of the most powerful ways to do that is by creating a patient journey map.
What’s a Patient Journey Map?
A patient journey map is a tool that helps your patient visualize what their experience with you will look like. It can be as simple as a one-page handout that shows the different stages you’ll take your patient through during the course of their treatment. It might start with Stage 1 being when they walk through your door, feeling helpless and hopeless, all the way to Stage 5 where they’ve completed their treatment plan and finally reached their goals.
The goal of the map is to help them see the big picture, understand the next steps, identify key checkpoints, and have defined end goals. It should include all the touchpoints that your patient will experience while in your care, including pre, during, and post-visits.
(Spoiler alert: Hang with me until the end. I have some resources that’ll help you get your patient journey map knocked out in no time!)
When done correctly, a journey map will keep them engaged, help to reduce stress, and create a stellar experience for them throughout the process. It’ll also allow you to make any necessary adjustments along the way as needed.
This map does more than just provide benefit to your patient… it can also make a HUGE difference in the flow of your practice. But first, let’s explore a bit more about the tangible and intangible benefits for your patient.
How Do Patients Benefit From a Patient Journey Map?
Did you know that 75% of organizations consider themselves to be customer-centric – but only 30% of their consumers would agree?1 So, while you may think your systems and processes are centered around the needs of your ideal patients, chances are there’s room for improvement.
This is where having that patient journey map can improve your patient satisfaction score. Creating one that contains just the bare bones of their care isn’t enough. The more details you can provide, the easier it will be for them to follow and implement. A well-done journey map will outline the ideal experience you want your patient to have. It will:
- Give your patients clarity on the end goal and the different check-points along the way
- Build their trust and increase their confidence that you have a plan and know exactly where you’re going
- Increase the likelihood that they will stick to your recommendations
Providing your patients with a clear and well-thought-out strategy in the form of a journey map helps to reduce their apprehension and overwhelm so they can direct their energy on healing.
So, when thinking about the strategy you want to use with a particular patient, take the time to really listen to their concerns and include them in your map. This lets them know you are being intentional and genuinely care about what’s important to them.
How Do YOU Benefit From a Patient Journey Map?
Having a map that clearly outlines your patient’s treatment experience allows you to be free to focus on other aspects of your business and practice.
I know that may sound like an obvious statement, but think about it. When you create this map, your patient isn’t the only one walking along its path. You and your staff are going with them on that journey – through the specific protocols and areas of support you’ve outlined, providing the resources needed to help them achieve success, and ensuring all of their appointments are scheduled on time. Every part of THEIR journey impacts a different area of YOUR practice.
Having this type of map positions you as a more confident and knowledgeable practitioner. A patient journey map:
- Increases your empathy and understanding. The more you can get in the shoes of your patient and understand what it’s like to go through the process, the more you’ll be able to relate to what they’re experiencing, the fears they feel, and the reassurances they need along the way.
- Reduces communication breakdowns with your patients. A patient journey map helps you know where you’ve come from, where you’re going, and what you need to do next. Using your journey map as a guide, you can provide regular updates to your patients which helps them to know what’s coming next. This only serves to improve their experience with you and the quality of care they’re receiving.
- Helps you provide more continuous, seamless care. There’s nothing worse than having something fall through the cracks with your patient. Whether it’s caused by human error, a tech glitch or poor documentation, these kinds of oversights leave your patient feeling uncared for and unimportant. Having a map helps you identify where those gaps are so you can address them right away and continue providing solid, uninterrupted care for your patient.
- Creates a better patient experience. With a map, you can spot pain points and potential blind spots along the way – reworking your protocol as necessary. You’ll be able to see what’s working, what’s not working, and where you can provide better care for your patient.
A map allows you to customize your patients health journey while holding each of you accountable for the milestones along the way. The information you provide from the beginning will set the stage for a coordinated approach to their care and give you the freedom to focus on other things that will help to grow your practice even more.
Create Your Patient Journey Map
Creating a patient journey map doesn’t need to be overly complicated or professionally designed. The goal is to make something that you and your patient can understand and work on together. So, it’s best to keep it simple.
If you need help getting started, check out this podcast episode – Creating A Map for Your Patient’s Journey. I’ll walk you through how to get your journey map created. I’ve even included a template you can use as well as some examples to get your creative juices going. Go give it a listen and start making your map today!
1. (2017, June 28). 8 in 10 Consumers willing to pay more for a better customer …. Retrieved January 23, 2021, from https://www.capgemini.com/news/8-in-10-consumers-willing-to-pay-more-for-a-better-customer-experience-as-big-business-falls/