The Patient Journey Map - Utilizing Insights and Analysis to Deliver Meaningful Support

Written on Thursday 4th May 2023

Self-management and choice are increasingly important for patients within healthcare. Patients more and more want to be engaged in the decisions that affect them and shape their future. But patient engagement is not achieved solely by a desire to self-manage one’s health more effectively. To be fully engaged in their care, patients must feel empowered and motivated to implement change and have access to the necessary tools and information.

True patient engagement happens when the patient is actively involved in decisions about their care.

Enabling shared decision-making is a real opportunity for those within the pharmaceutical sector to empower people, but they can only do this by understanding the true unmet needs of patients and their families. By identifying the key challenges of the lived experience, both clinical and emotional, within a disease journey, engaging with patients will add value to the insights instead of duplicating existing knowledge.

Patient journey maps illuminate the challenges faced by patients, families, and healthcare professionals. The true purpose is to identify key unmet needs and ‘moments that matter’ along the journey that, through consultative interpretation and the provision of appropriate tools, can change beliefs and behaviors towards disease management for improved clinical outcomes. Internally, the patient journey map provides a blueprint for strategic planning, identifying the needs to be tackled to make a meaningful difference to the treatment paradigm. The visual representation of the journey is also a great tool to bring the lived experience of a disease to life, to demonstrate the unique perspectives of individual stakeholders, and to engage colleagues with your strategic approach, basing it on evidence as well as inspiration.

The five pillars of journey mapping

There are five pillars which should be considered when developing a patient journey. Aligning to these will ensure that the process of building a journey is multi-layered and robust.

  1.  Integrate behavior science and psychology within the patient journey analysis
    The purpose behind patient experience mapping is to develop solutions that meet the unmet needs of the audience; analyzing the insights using behavior change theories and psychological models will ensure that the opportunities identified in the journey are focused on directing behavioral change.
  2.  Critically analyze existing research, including publications and systematic review
    Summarizing the findings from published literature can inform the development of the research plan. A literature review also serves as a rationale for the qualitative interviews and begins to form the patient journey.
  3.  Listening to social conversations can add deeper layers of insights 
    Online conversations can uncover valuable insights into the specific needs of every individual stakeholder, from patients and caregivers to healthcare professionals or key opinion leaders. In a landscape where social listening can yield a vast amount of data, it is important to utilize a clear strategic methodology in analysis.
  4.  Speak to real patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals to help construct the journey
    Patient, caregiver and advocacy participation and input in journey maps is essential for a truly patient-centric approach. Collaboration can be done in a number of ways and is dependent on how much insight is collated. Observational or phenomenological methodology is dependent on the sample size and rationale behind the research. Although there is a preference for one-to-one interviews, focus groups and advisory boards can offer just as much value and insight.
  5.  Engage with key influencers throughout the patients’ journeys
    This allows the development of a robust strategic patient pathway. Mapping this out will help inform the specific touchpoints where a tactical intervention can be introduced and by whom. It’s important to not forget patient associations – accessing and working in collaboration with patient groups can help engage patients willing to co-design research and be part of the co-creation process.

A patient journey map can be a truly revolutionary tool, one that forms an integral map for change and improvement in all stakeholder support, with patient engagement and empowerment its ultimate goal. When considering the five pillars of constructing or updating an existing bank of patient journey data, it is important to integrate, critically analyze, listen, speak, and engage with patients, carers, healthcare professionals and patient associations.

Download one of our latest case studies to find out more about patient journey mapping at OPEN Health.

*This is a shortened version of an article previously published on PMLiVE:

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