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Patient Journey Mapping: Taking it to the Next Level

The value that comes from patient journey mapping exercises is well-established in the life sciences industry. These activities are focused on bringing together the complex and multi-faceted experiences of patients undergoing treatment into one place. Often they will begin at or before the awareness of a condition and include information about what happens all the way through a completed treatment regiment or death. The benefit of these exercises lies in the fact that they make it easier to identify the total sum of opportunities for engagement. By collecting all the engagement opportunities, companies can more easily make choices about how to engage and draw lines in the sand around their responsibility to provide.

The model has worked so well, that many companies engage in a similar exercise to better understand different types of HCPs common in their product’s arena. The HCP journey mapping exercises also lends clarity to strategic outreach opportunities to benefit patient outcomes and improve healthcare education and delivery. These activities can help to draw out challenges and highlight obstacles that patients and providers have to deliver care and allow pharmaceutical companies to think about ways to help alleviate those challenges in a compliant way.

Patient Journey Mapping in Practice

Many companies choose to map these journeys, but they differ widely in the application of that newfound knowledge. Most companies use it as a guide to create personalized experiences for patients and HCPs based on deeper understanding of their needs and preferences. For example, a better understanding of the common ‘moments of truth’ where a patient will fall off adherence can help a pharmaceutical company focus efforts on creating and sharing educational materials for HCPs that can help to improve it.

Leading life sciences companies take it step further. They utilize the learnings from journeys not just to guide external engagement, but also to optimize resources internally and manage risk. For example, they review the journeys to identify points where the organization has frequent risk of failure. They review those risk areas to identify the root cause of those failings and create a plan to manage those moments differently to drive better outcomes.

The most valuable and limited resource that any company has is time. It’s pertinent then for a company to think about time and resource constraints so failures can be prevented beforehand and engagement opportunities are given what they need to succeed. For example, with a deeper understanding of bottlenecks in an organization’s capacity to deliver against each chosen point of the patient journey, a company can learn to add additional resources to specific engagement opportunities, optimize inventory requirements, and over time, spot patterns to predict future issue areas.

Using journeys to identify engagement opportunities is important, but those who stop after that are missing a valuable exercise that a deep understanding of patient journey can help to facilitate. The best companies understand engagement opportunities, choose them based on impact and patient benefit, and also utilize that data to reduce risk and optimize resources.

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Contributions by Ken Alves

Tags: Digital Patient Engagement