05 Aug After the Journey Mapping – Now What?
So you’ve completed a process that maps a particular set of patients’ experiences through a system of care. Some things were expected. Some things may have been surprising. Either way, it has the potential to be a very powerful research output. And it should be a starting point.
There are usually three potential next steps that follow the creation of patient journey maps. These include:
There are only two reasons to open up completed patient journey mapping (okay there’s more than two but let’s assume you have a good research product). One reason some of the experiences may need more vetting – for example, we defined seven key experiences, each with two to five events and multiple communications tools leading to numerous combinations in starting a turnkey obesity treatment practice. And that’s not including the EMR and coding. All this illustrates is that there may be a need to do more work looking into a specific sequence and workflow. The other area might be looking at the raw date from the journey map in a different way – layering journey mapping with behavioral economic drivers and design thinking. Both of these cuts of the data usually drive at greater insights from observed activity to improve next steps.
Communication to Participation
One of the critical next steps post journey goes beyond defining touch points. While important, touch points suggest an inside company out to health consumer approach. What to look for is less about where it’s convenient to communicate and more about where people are already participating in the health conversation we want to have with them. There are high-level points of empowerment where conversations are occurring across the patient perspective. What can be uncovered includes participation themes like better condition understanding, connection to others with same condition, organized condition support and life’s meaning after adverse events among others. Within these themes are specific topics and experiences that a company can meaningfully listen, participate in or lead the conversation with a health consumer.
Experiences: Detours on the journey
In research there is always a moment in a journey mapping exercise where you want to understand if you’ve covered it all. And that’s just it. You’ve covered the known, observable behaviors within a system of, in this case, health. The answer to the changes in attitude or behavior you’re seeking might in fact lie outside of documented touch points, in the interval between touches within the system. And on top of that, the touch point may need to be created to fit into an existing human workflow. Take for example a provider and patient dialog around obesity, now reimbursable education in the US. This dialog did not exist before, beyond doctor mentions of “doing something about that weight” to a patient. Now there can be an experience inserted into an exam room visit that reinforces obesity as a medical condition, gives the doctor control and helps the patient take ownership of the condition.
Journey mapping is a valuable tool. But in many cases it should be looked at as a mid point and not an end point.
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To contact the author
Rick Shaughnessy, Partner