An efficient patient journey mapping is the key to improving the quality of patient care. Many healthcare providers face the challenge of budget constraints, limited resources, and having too many priorities to handle at the same time. With this combination of pressure and stress, streamlining workflows and increasing efficiencies, while also enhancing the quality of care become extremely important to maintain a positive patient experience.
Patient journey mapping is a process that can help care providers achieve all these things. In this article, we will dive deeper into the benefits of patient journey mapping and show how it can be useful for all stakeholders.
What is patient journey mapping?
A patient journey map, also known as a healthcare customer journey map, is a blueprint of all the stages, referred to as touchpoints, a patient goes through in their patient journey in a healthcare facility. This includes all the touchpoints pre-, during, and post-visit.
Patient journey mapping is a way to visualize and get an overview of patient experience during their entire care journey. This allows healthcare providers to reconfigure their approach to treatment and care, seen from the patient's point of view. Through patient journey mapping, a healthcare provider can identify pain points, and potential blind spots, and work on the solutions to these problems. Additionally, this also provides an opportunity to find improvements that can be made, as well as discover opportunities for innovation.
What is the purpose of patient journey mapping?
Patient journey mapping gives insights into the patient experiences during their care journey in a healthcare facility. It gives an overview of the patient flow in general, and also detailed insights into each touchpoint during their patient journey. For the care providers, these insights are invaluable for creating strategies to improve the quality of care, increase efficiency, and improve patient experience and satisfaction.
What are the touchpoints in patient journey mapping?
As mentioned briefly above, a patient journey covers the whole journey, even before the patient arrives at the medical facility and until after they receive treatment. Generally, a patient goes through these touchpoints in their patient journey:
A patient journey starts before a patient arrives at the premises, usually, when they book an appointment, choose a service, find the location, and reserve a place in the queue.
Arrival: When a patient arrives for their treatment, they announce their arrival by checking in: through aself-service kiosk,virtual check-in link in their booking confirmation, or at a reception desk where a staff member assists with the registration process.
Queuing and waiting: After check-in, the patient waits until they’re called. This is where avirtual queuing system can help improvepatient experience, for example, by allowing them to wait remotely with a Mobile Ticketuntil it’s their turn, and by giving them real-time queue updates and how long is left until they’re called for the treatment.
Service: And of course, there’s the treatment itself, often referred to as service, where the patient is seen by a member of the medical staff. The patient is called and receives service/treatment from a staff member who is acquainted with their needs and medical history.
Post-visit is also referred to as the patient retention phase, this is an important part of the patient journey that’s often forgotten after the patient receives the treatment. Gettingpatient feedbackis essential to get insights into the real patient experience and patient satisfaction. Their input can be used to improve the patient journey mapping which in turn improves the patient experience, quality of care, and process efficiency in the healthcare facility.
Why patient journey mapping is important in healthcare facilities
Patient journey mapping is important to improve patient experience, as patients benefit from having clear communication, reduced uncertainties, and knowing what to expect next. Getting an understanding of the patient experience and their requirements can help healthcare providers to create personalized and good patient experiences.
For healthcare professionals and hospital management, insights into the patient experience from their perspective are invaluable. Mapping the patient journey can enlighten the staff about the gaps in the process, areas for improvement, and opportunities for innovation. With these insights, healthcare providers can focus on where to allocate the budget, plan solutions to increase efficiency, and improve the quality of patient care.
What are the benefits of patient journey mapping for healthcare providers?
Patient journey mapping gives a lot of benefits for both patients and care providers. Below are some of the benefits of patient journey mapping:
Seamless and continuous care for patients – there are often gaps in the patient journey due to technology, resources, or other circumstances. A patient journey map allows care providers to identify these gaps and work on a solution to ensure a seamless patient journey.
Removing silos in care – blind spots can occur at any point in the patient journey, frombooking an appointmentat the beginning, to discharge or follow-up at the end. A well-planned patient journey map helps care providers to actively provide solutions to these issues and enhance the overall patient experience.
Improved communications between patients and care providers – with a healthcare journey map, uncertainties and inconsistent communications can be eliminated. Regular information and updates for patients can significantly improve patient experience as they know what to expect, while clear communication between care providers helps improve the quality of care.
Reducing pain points – problems are spotted more easily with a patient journey map, and can be solved quicker, giving the opportunity to reduce or completely avoid pain points for patients.
Streamlined workflows – clear and mapped patient journeys help optimize processes and streamline workflows. Staff members have clear guidance on the processes and can arm themselves with solutions for anticipated problems.
Increased efficiency – clear processes for staff, regular information for patients, and streamlined workflows help increase efficiency in the patient journey.
Continuous improvement – insights into the care journey, backed with patient journey data and patient feedback, gives the opportunity for continuous improvements in the care processes.
How do you map a patient’s journey?
Mapping a patient journey requires inputs from different stakeholders, including patients and healthcare professionals (carers, general practitioners, specialists, etc.). Here are some steps to create a patient journey map that you can follow:
Talk to clinicians to build a map of the steps involved in the treatment, to be used as a framework to build experiences around.
Get information about patient journeys from their experiences, and what they want to achieve at the end of their patient journey.
Map out the different paths taken by patients when they’re in the healthcare system.
Identify potential gaps and pain points in the patient journeys and develop solutions for these problems.
Keep updating the patient journey map as you get insights and feedback from the patient to improve the overall process as well as the patient experience.
How to create an effective patient journey map
A healthcare journey map is often complex as it involves different systems, including hospital information systems and a patient journey management system. Healthcare providers often face challenges such as workflow interruption, complex and ever-changing environments, limited budgets, and a stretched workforce. This in turn has a significant impact onpatient experience, where many patients experience uncertainties, long waiting times, and confusion caused by these problems.