More than a Pathway: Why Patient Experience > Patient Journey
The “patient journey” is a common buzzword in the medical marketing vernacular these days. But, to maximize your product's utilization, you must think beyond the journey and consider the entire patient experience (at Square 1, this is what we call “PX”). To have a successful PX that results in patient conversions, you must understand all aspects of each key player along the way—from practice to practitioner, and from staff to patient. While many companies talk about the patient journey, our multifaceted approach to the patient experience takes in the bigger picture and executes what works for the patient.
A typical chain of tactical events usually involves serving up information to patients (in their preferred format of consumption, of course) at different touch points in the journey. However, the journey doesn't account for what the patient is thinking or feeling or the realities of what happens at each touch point, which can affect…(wait for it)…the experience.
What separates journey-thinking from experience-thinking? Here's just one of many examples of how this can play out in the practice. The practice is a part of the journey, but the details of what happens at the practice level are part of the experience. (Read the full story here.)
At some point, your target patient population will visit a practice where you've sold product. So you'll need a brochure and other collateral in that office (duh). If your “box of stuff” is lucky or particularly creative enough to be opened by the office administrator, you must then make sure what the patient hears from the practice staff matches up with what they read in your brochure. Delivering a successful PX requires that everyone is singing from the same sheet of music. Otherwise, your product's key reasons to believe aren't going to stick.
This not only includes any piece of print or digital collateral, but also includes doctors, nurses, office staff—anyone who might have a conversation with a patient about your product or service. It might be helpful to think of the practice as a franchise, meaning everyone in the practice should be working for your brand. You need to tell them what to say about your product and when, so when they encounter a patient (a potential customer!), they know how to say all of the right things when it matters most.
And you also need to make sure the practice knows when and how to deliver the materials. Just like you can get a product on the shelf, someone needs to know how to sell it and utilize it. Further, the practice and practitioners need to understand the different patient types (personas, as well call them at Square 1) they might encounter. The goal? To get to each individual's tipping point.
Some personas like to question everything, while others trust what they hear. This can greatly affect the experience from one patient to the next. If your educational materials aren't geared to your personas or the conversation that someone has with the patient isn't delivered in a comfortable or meaningful way, all efforts up until this point could be for naught. Further, if a patient's emotional needs are not met and respected, the path to conversion could be a bumpy and dead-end road.
Beyond the brick and mortar, a successful PX also requires monitoring and compliance. By monitoring patients' online behavior, you can figure out the content that is most likely driving them to [insert conversion metric], and then make tweaks to refine your linking strategy a step further (e.g., drive doc finder traffic to the surgeon who knows how to convert). PX continues into compliance, where a patient will either continue or give up because of challenges unique to their persona. To overcome, you'll need to deliver compliance apps, treatment reminders, and CRM programs that get to the heart of these matters and influence behavior.
If the PX is executed effectively, you'll know based on how many referrals come in. By getting to know personas, educating the patient educators, monitoring behaviors and driving selection (of product or practitioner), and nurturing compliance, you'll develop an advocate who will later unknowingly go to work for you when they shout from the rooftops what a great experience they had.