June 24, 2016

5 Questions to Map Your Patients’ Journey

In the 2016 Health Care Marketing Trends Report, we shared the growing trend of marketers mapping out the journey of prospective patients. Journey mapping identifies what prospects want and need to know about your organization’s solutions based on where they are in their patient journey.

Journey mapping offers marketers insights on what calls-to-action to offer prospective patients so they can take the next step. By identifying where your prospective patient is on his/her journey, you can identify the touchpoints, channels and messaging that is most impactful and relevant for your audience.

Let’s use joint replacement surgery as an example of how patient journey mapping helps marketers and communicators to drive new patient leads.

Having worked with hundreds of orthopedic surgeons, we know at Franklin Street that many joint replacement patients put off surgery for years. People would rather live in mild to moderate pain than have surgery.

With that knowledge in mind, a prospective patient early in her journey to eventual hip replacement will likely resonate with messaging about how to treat hip pain without surgery. At this stage of her journey, your prospective patient may welcome opting in to an email communications campaign that provides monthly tips for managing hip pain. She might also welcome the opportunity to attend an informational session on options for treating hip pain.

On the other end of the spectrum, a patient who has suffered for years with hip pain may be ready to engage with messages about surgical solutions. She may be ready to “buy” and therefore your brand should give her the calls-to-action necessary to meet with a surgeon and schedule surgery.

The same type of patient, same eventual outcome surgical procedure. Yet based on where your prospective patient is on her journey, different messages and calls to action are required for your brand to be relevant and to make an impact.

Patient journey mapping can be as simple or as complex as it needs to be.

For today though, let’s start your journey mapping process with five simple but powerful questions.

These five questions can help you develop your first patient journey map.

Let’s get started.

1. WHAT DOES YOUR PROSPECTIVE PATIENT KNOW ABOUT HER HEALTH SITUATION?

Decide your prospective patient’s level of knowledge about her health situation. Is she well-researched? Is she just starting the education process?

2. WHAT SHOULD YOUR PROSPECTIVE PATIENT KNOW ABOUT HER SITUATION?

What resources can you provide to help give her clarity on how to solve her health situation? How can you be a trusted resource?

3. WHAT DOES SHE BELIEVE ABOUT HER HEALTH SITUATION?

Does your prospective patient believe her symptoms are minor and not urgent to address? Or is she in crisis-mode and seeking immediate answers?

4. WHAT IS YOUR PROSPECTIVE PATIENT FEELING RIGHT NOW?

Is she scared? Is she in pain? How could your brand help her emotional needs?

5. WHAT DOES SHE WANT TO FEEL RIGHT NOW?

Does she want to feel hopeful and confident? Does she want to feel that she can get back to life, pain and worry free? What is her desired future state?

These five questions can be powerful in bringing your prospective patient to life. By asking these five questions, you can tap into her heart and mind. You can also begin making thoughtful decisions about the messaging, channels, touchpoints and calls-to-action that are most relevant to her wherever she is on her patient journey.

Great marketing is ultimately great storytelling. And great healthcare marketing is using stories to humanize the often scary and complex places people find themselves as they deal with health issues.

Patient journey mapping places the marketer in the shoes of the prospective patient. It gives the marketer the best opportunity to develop strategies that resonate and encourage the prospect to take the next step in receiving care.

If you have any specific questions about Franklin Street’s approach to patient journey mapping, drop us a line. We love helping marketers build patient-centered brands®.