Patients begin their healthcare journey way before they step foot in a clinic. It continues way beyond the consultation, as well. The patient journey can be mapped into several phases. These touchpoints during these phases influence a patient’s choice of a provider.
Clinics can better engage with their patients if they prioritize the experience of patient touchpoint journeys. In today’s blog, TABIIB takes a look at the various phases of the patient touchpoint journey, why patient mapping is important, and how your clinic can build on this foundation.
What Is Patient Journey Mapping?
Patient mapping is a process through which healthcare leaders can better understand the touchpoints in patient’s interaction with a clinic. Healthcare process mapping is another term for patient journey.
Patient mapping outlines all the phases and touchpoints of patient interaction. This helps in strategizing an outreach plan that aids both patients and providers and improves clinic engagement and healthcare experience.
Phases of Patient Journey
The patient journey can be broadly divided into: pre-visit, visit, and post-visit. For the sake of clarity however, we’ll take a look at the major stages of interaction that can help devise a patient touchpoint strategy.
In this stage, the patient conducts a self-assessment to better understand their symptoms. This is where most patients go online to do preliminary research and consider potential health conditions. They may even reach out in online health forums and communities.
This is where having a solid online presence can help. If your clinic puts out information that can help a patient, then they’re more likely to book an appointment.
- Discovery & Help
This is where the patients look up listing and reviews of hospitals and clinics closest to them. This is the first patient interaction in the care journey. If your clinic has a well-developed website, easy to access contact buttons, and a social media presence then you will automatically rank higher on the patient’s list.
In this stage, the patient interacts with the health system via text, email, or SMS.
- Care Delivery & Health Consumption
This is where the patient is assessed at a medical facility (physician’s office, hospital, etc.). There are a few action points that clinics can consider here. Do you have a reminder system in place so patients don’t miss their appointments? Is the contact information on your website accurate? Is your clinic parking friendly? Do you have options to schedule follow-ups online?
These questions can help you get a headstart in strategizing your patient touchpoint outreach.
- Treatment & Engagement
The health system (hospital or clinic) diagnoses and provides a treatment plan, at this stage. During this phase, your clinic must keep your patient engaged through encouraging a proactive approach to their own health. Clinics need to maintain regular communication with that patient to help build a solid patient-provider relationship.
This phase also includes the behavioural and lifestyle changes that the patient makes in order to promote long-term wellbeing.
Why Is It Important?
The development of digital healthcare has led to more conscious consumers – patients now have several options and are motivated to undertake extensive research. In order to reach their patients, healthcare providers and health systems must focus on creating enriching patient experiences that benefit them.
This can lead to increased brand awareness, higher conversion rates, and greater patient retention.
The patient journey continues all the way through the patient’s lifetime so long as they remain loyal to the health system and engaged in the continuum of care.