033: Creating A Map for Your Patient's Journey




Ronda Nelson: Well, hello, my friend. Welcome back to The Clinical Entrepreneur podcast. I am your host, Ronda Nelson. I’m so glad that you are back with me today. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been sharing the podcast episodes on our YouTube channel, which you can find linked in the show notes. We are also on all the streaming platforms, so a big shout-out to those of you who have left reviews. I’ve had so many great emails from all of you loving the content. I’m so glad you’re here. My job, my goal, my passion is to really give you the tools that are going to help you scale a profitable, thriving, successful practice so that you can serve more people and live a life that works well for you.


Now, let’s dive into our content for today. Our topic is about creating what I call a patient journey. When patients come in and they sit down with you, they come in at Point A and we need to get them all the way over here, whatever the end of that continuum is, to the place that they’re better. Now, there may be 10 steps in the middle, there may be five steps in the middle, but regardless, we need to have or think about this process that we take them through. In reality, our patients are our customers, they are coming to us asking for a service, and we in return provide that service. One of the traps that we get into is not giving them a map or journey that lets them know how we’re going to complete the transaction, so to speak.


For instance, say someone comes in and they’ve got multiple issues going on, which is super common. Do you have a general idea of how you’re going to break that down? Or do you just say to the patient, “Hey, look, like, yeah, no problem, we’ll get this fixed. We’re going to do some testing. We’re going to work on your liver. We’re going to do some adrenal work. We’re going to do dah, dah.” And you list them all out, but the patient just looks at it and thinks, “oh my gosh, I’m so overwhelmed. I don’t even know. What did you just say? I don’t know.” And it already feels overwhelming to them because they don’t feel well.


When we come in being that clear, we know what we need to do, but for them, it’s a mishmash of information and there’s no clear journey. So, we want them to follow the recommendations that we’re making. We want them to see changes in their health. We want them to feel better and live life better and be better mothers and better parents and better spouses, etc., but we have to communicate to them what that journey looks like.


It’s kind of like the yellow brick road. Dorothy goes to Oz and she lands in Munchkinland and there, she finds all these little Munchkins, and then Glinda comes. She says follow the yellow brick road and you’re going to get to the end of your journey. So, she puts her little red slippers at the very start of the yellow brick road and she follows the little circle around and around as the little Munchkins are singing, and off she goes, she and Toto and they skip along.


And it’s fine, as long as the yellow brick road is very clear and she’s able to follow it. However, along the way, there are certain milestones that she reaches, that she needs to achieve or needs to meet someone, in her case, something needs to happen that will allow her to continue on her journey. She meets the Tin Man and she meets the Scarecrow and she meets the Lion. And these are all kind of a fork in the road, so to speak. They’re at a place where an event happens that changes the trajectory of her outcome.


And they certainly encountered some turbulence when they met the Wicked Witch of the West, had the field of poppies, and all these things that happened to them along the way. That’s the same for us as practitioners. We can go along thinking that we’ve got it all mapped out, but we all know that sometimes, you’re going to hit that little bump in the road. For example, the patient says, oh, I reacted to that or something happens and they have to stop care. There’s a blockade, something gets put up that you have to figure out how to get around. And that’s what Dorothy did as well, they had to navigate through some of that. So, having a general idea of where you want to take the patient can result in increased patient compliance and better ability for them to stay on the course. This way they don’t bail out partway through, but it requires that you create a map for them.


Next, you’re going to create your version of the yellow brick road. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. We’re going to create a patient map for your patients. We want at least five to seven stages. The brain works better with odd numbers. Try and keep it to five for the person who’s sick, overwhelmed, and tired. They don’t feel good, this already feels overwhelming for them. 


Now, let me give you an example. If you think of a continuum, we’re going to draw a line and at this end of the line is the person who comes in and they are just super, super sick. This is the person when they very first come to meet you, really sick, they’ve been to every medical doctor. I mean, the worst-case scenario. They’ve had tests done and the doctors say, “I don’t know, I don’t know what the problem is, sorry, I don’t know, I don’t know.” That’s this person over here.


This is stage number one or zero, but this is your starting point. This is where they are feeling great, amazing, awesome, all of their healthcare things have been resolved, their energy is good, their elimination is good, their diet is good, everything is rolling along smoothly. That would be your stage five. That’s when they’re super excited to be better.


Now, when you draw these and you’ll see in the show notes. I’m going to give it to you as a PowerPoint, so you can edit it. All right, you’re going to use this resource, it’ll start to get you thinking about how to create the journey. There are five circles on this resource and for each one of them, you’re going to describe what’s happening at that point in their journey.


I’ll give you an example. Let’s say, the person that comes in, they have ill health, and they don’t feel well. You might call that the sick and unsure stage. That’s your stage one, sick and unsure. Then, you meet with them, you go over their paperwork, you have created a protocol and you say, Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. And then, the distance between stage one to stage two is the process of them remodeling their diet, getting elimination working, or whatever it is in your practice. Everyone is different, right?


Then the second one, you need to give it a name but we are remodeling the terrain, we’re changing this stage, or we’re making changes. Now, the patient is starting to feel a little bit better, right? We’re starting to see some progress, we’re making progress. That could be stage two. Stage three might be something like we’re refining, we’re revisiting, we’re diving deep, or we’re digging deep because at that point, you’re really starting to uncover some of those deeper layer things. By the time they’ve done all that prelim work, like liver work or HPA axis work or whatever it is you’re doing, you want to get them on that journey to go all the way through to that third stage, which is we’re refining, we’re making adjustments, and we’re digging deep.


The fourth stage might be feeling hopeful, like we’re kind of making progress now, we’re feeling really hopeful. And of course, then that fifth stage is woo-hoo, graduation time, you’re off, you’re now going to go into with more of a wellness-type environment. Think about your patient journey map as something that you really put some thought, time, and energy into, because what you want to do is you want to create something that they can self-identify with. And they can say, “Oh, yeah, I come in to you, I saw you on X day and I think I’m at stage two because my diet is pretty good, my elimination is pretty good, I don’t feel really sick, but I know I need to make some changes.”


So, they’re able to self-identify and say, Okay, I’m at stage two. And then, you’re going to start working with them and they know and you know that you’re going to move them to stage three. The “how” of getting there changes practitioner to practitioner, so I don’t need to teach you about that, you got that covered. There are other places you can go to learn about the clinical stuff. I’m just giving you the tactical stuff that will make such a huge difference for your patients in the way that they are able to feel confident and comfortable with the recommendations you’re making. And this is the big one. I promise you will see more compliance.


You might have a little space between your stages and you’ll see it when you get the download that’s in the show notes,, you’ll see it in the show notes, but you might want to write in that little space between the stages. Put in, here’s where we’re going to work on diet, here’s we’re going to work on stress, this is the stage when we’re going to work on sleep or exercise or detox or maybe hormones or infections, or whatever it is. You might know your protocol enough that you can be very specific about those stages. And that again, is completely up for you because it’s up to you because it’s different for every single patient, not everyone is the same.


Then, once you have that whole patient journey map outlined in general, you’re going to put their name at the top and you’re going to say, “Okay, Mary, you came in with fibroids and hemorrhoids and headaches and so, here’s how we’re going to get all of those things resolved.” And you write them down at the top and then you write down what your patient journey is for them, knowing that it can change and it’s totally okay. I can tell you, the patients breathe such a huge sigh of relief when they know that you’ve got a plan and that there’s an end because their biggest fear is, am I going to have to stay on these supplements? Am I going to have to stay on this diet forever? You know that’s what they asked. They ask it all the time. That’s what they’re thinking. Even if they don’t ask, we know, that’s what they’re thinking.


Giving them that clarity by laying out that journey map for them, allows them to feel confident and take a big sigh of relief because they know that you have a plan. They can trust that they’re going to follow you because they’re going to be able to see their progress along with this patient journey map. In the show notes, I’m going to give you a PowerPoint template that you can edit an example map. 


I can tell you that if I had thought about this and known about this back when I was in full-time practice, now I just see patients one day a week, but when I had a full busy practice, this would have been a game-changer in the compliance department and in helping the patient just feel more comfortable and secure with what I was doing with them.




Ronda Nelson: Well, I hope that that was super helpful for you. I actually really loved creating this patient journey map for you and putting together the example. In fact, I got so inspired when I was creating the example that I decided to do a second one. So, there are actually two for you to look at. They’re both from different perspectives, but you’ll see when you get them downloaded what they look like, and then feel free to tweak them. You can just tweak the content copy, but use it as an idea to spur you on.


Now, if you are a clinician and you’re not feeling real comfortable about making those clinical recommendations, because I get it, that can be a little scary. The truth is, you don’t know enough to do what you do, there’s no way, and neither do I, clinically, because there’s always more to learn and there’s always more to understand and know. But, that’s the part of that clinical growth and we’re on that journey altogether, right? We’re all learning.


So, if you’re feeling like you need a little bit more clinical support, I would really encourage you to sign up for the Clinical Academy waitlist. Now, it’s not open quite yet, but here’s what Clinical Academy is. Clinical Academy is a place where like-minded clinicians come together to be able to get access to unfiltered, uncensored, and don’t-tell-anyone, non-compliant clinical information about how to solve these tough and complex cases. But not only that, it also will give you a lot of the basics, like how you unwrap a patient case, how do you take the patient from full-on adrenal fatigue which isn’t really a thing, but the patients believe that it is, but how do you take them from a state of really a dysregulated HPA axis all the way through to feeling super amazing, just like we were talking about that patient journey, right?


So, if you’d love more clinical support, if you want to learn, it is an amazing resource for you. I would love to have you join me, all you have to do is click this link: and you’ll go to the waitlist page and as a VIP waitlister. You will have early access when Clinical Academy opens on March 8th. Don’t forget about it and tell everyone you know, 3/8/21 is when Clinical Academy is going to open.


There are lots of benefits if you’re on that VIP waitlist right before we open it up for enrollment. We only do it twice a year and this is the first time this year, so 3/8, March 8, 2021. I can’t wait to have you in there. It’s really a place where you’re going to sharpen your clinical skills that will allow you to serve your patients better, so in return, you can grow your practice, be profitable, and live the life you love. I’m Ronda Nelson. Thank you so much for joining me this week. I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye. 




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