Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

Patient Journey Mapping: What Is It & Why Does It Matter

Modern Patient

Without a doubt, patient satisfaction is the cornerstone of any medical practice’s success.

After all, it improves patient retention and increases the likelihood of patients recommending your healthcare practice to their family and friends.

But, let’s be honest, providing patient satisfaction is easier said than done. With your patients likely having different expectations, ensuring that each and everyone is satisfied with your services can be quite a challenge.

Well, with patient journey mapping, meeting patient expectations and improving the patient experience becomes much easier!

Not sure what patient journey actually is or how to use patient journey mapping to enhance your medical practice?

We’ve got you covered. In this article, you will learn:

  • What is the Patient Journey?
  • Why is Patient Journey Mapping Important?
  • Advantages of Patient Journey Mapping
  • What Does a Patient’s Journey Consist Of?
  • What Are the Steps of a Successful Patient Journey?

And more!

What is the Patient Journey?

Put simply, a patient journey defines the entire experience a patient goes through during their medical treatment at your healthcare facility.

As such, the patient journey covers the whole medical process (virtual and in-person), from developing symptoms and scheduling a doctor’s appointment to completing the medical treatment and beyond.

Patient journey mapping, in turn, gives a detailed overview of all the stages a patient goes through during their entire interaction with a specific healthcare facility. In turn, this helps healthcare providers to improve patient experience and increase patient satisfaction.

Medesk helps to manage the work with patients. The platform tracks the entire history of interaction with them: from the attraction channel to the profit received.

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Why is Patient Journey Mapping Important?

Patient journey mapping is vital to the success of your medical practice as it helps you to:

  • Identify your medical practice’s weak spots, which allows you to effectively improve your medical practice.
  • Get valuable insight and evaluate your medical practice from the patient’s perspective.
  • Create a personalized, hyper-targeted patient experience.
  • Effectively allocate your budget to improve your medical practice’s efficiency and performance.
  • Deliver successful treatment outcomes by improving your healthcare quality.
  • Increase patient engagement and patient satisfaction, leading to better patient retention.

Advantages of Patient Journey Mapping

Patient journey mapping has numerous advantages for healthcare providers and patients alike, including:

  • Seamless, comprehensive, and continuous patient care. Patient journey mapping allows you to identify gaps and blind spots that bring down the quality of your healthcare services such as ineffective use of medical technology.
  • Effective communication between healthcare providers and patients. Patient journey mapping allows you to improve communications by helping you spot and solve communication issues, such as inconsistency, lack of clarity, insufficient medical updates, and more.
  • Clinical workflow optimization. Patient journey mapping can help you assess and optimize your clinical workflow and processes to deliver high-quality care for your patients, improve treatment outcomes, and increase patient satisfaction.
  • Healthcare efficiency. By optimizing your clinical workflow, providing staff with clear instructions, and improving communication between patients and healthcare providers, patient journey mapping helps to improve your medical practice’s efficiency and performance.
  • Patient retention. Patient journey mapping can effectively improve patient retention rates by promoting clear communication, improving treatment outcomes, and ensuring an excellent patient experience. In turn, patient journey mapping builds trust and loyalty, which can encourage patients to refer your medical practice to family and friends.
  • Improved staff performance. Patient journey mapping can help you to optimize internal processes and online tools, allowing for more automation. This way, patient journey mapping can improve your staff performance and efficiency.
  • Stress and anxiety reduction. By helping to bridge communication gaps, optimize workflows, and more, patient journey mapping helps to alleviate stress and anxiety. For example, patient journey mapping can improve your patient and family update system, allowing patients and family members to get medical updates via text.
  • Effective patient flow management. Patient journey mapping allows medical practices to optimize and manage patient flow by ensuring smooth admission, procedure scheduling, and discharging processes.

What Does a Patient’s Journey Consist Of?

As we mentioned above, the patient journey covers the entire patient experience.

That being said, the patient journey doesn’t simply refer to the typical interaction between a patient and a healthcare provider. Instead, it also encompasses the patient experience before and after their visit to the healthcare facility.

patient journey

In essence, the patient journey consists of three main stages, which include:

  • Pre-visit stage
  • During-visit stage
  • Post-visit stage

So, let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Pre-visit Stage

The pre-visit stage is the beginning of a patient journey, which can include:

  • Noticing symptoms and self-assessing the health condition
  • Researching symptoms, healthcare services, and more
  • Browsing the Internet to find a healthcare practitioner
  • Scheduling an appointment (in-person, online, or via phone call)
  • Navigating the healthcare facility upon initial arrival

Put simply, the beginning of the patient journey sets the tone and expectations for the whole patient experience.

A confusing and complicated pre-visit experience, for example, can lead the patient to experience stress, discomfort, confusion, frustration, and anxiety.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure that the patient journey begins with a positive pre-visit experience, as it can impact the patient’s emotional state and well-being and thus affect the patient’s future interaction with the healthcare facility.

During-visit Stage

The during-visit stage covers the entire patient experience at your healthcare facility upon the patient’s arrival, including activities such as:

  • Checking in, either at the front desk or at a self-service kiosk.
  • Waiting for the appointment in the waiting room.
  • Interacting and communicating with the staff, including front-desk, nurses, doctors, etc.
  • Receiving healthcare treatment.
  • Updating family members on the patient’s condition and treatment.

By making sure that your patients have a positive experience during their visit, you can improve patient satisfaction, reduce patient dropout rates, and improve treatment outcomes.

Post-visit Stage

Although the post-visit stage often gets the least attention, this last stage of the patient journey is crucial to improving patient retention.

The post-visit stage includes the following:

  • Instructing patients on aftercare
  • Discharging patients from the hospital
  • Receiving and analyzing patient feedback
  • Paying for the healthcare services
  • Follow-up appointments

Essentially, optimizing the post-visit stage of the patient journey ensures patient retention, successful treatment outcomes, patient satisfaction, and an overall positive patient experience.

What Are the Steps of a Successful Patient Journey?

Using practice management software is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure a successful patient journey.

That’s because a well-designed practice management software comes with many tools and features that can tremendously improve each stage of the patient journey, such as:

  • An online booking tool that can facilitate appointment booking and scheduling procedures, thus creating a positive experience before the visit.
  • A medical billing tool can automate the payment procedures, which improves the patient experience during the visit.
  • An integrated telemedicine software can be used to conduct follow-up appointments remotely, which promotes a successful patient journey after the visit by helping patients save time.

You will be able to conduct online patient appointments directly in Medesk. There is no need to use personal numbers, employee contacts or third-party programs. Within the platform, all actions and connections are performed on behalf of your clinic.

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Not to mention, using practice management software optimizes your medical practice’s overall performance and efficiency, which can significantly boost patient satisfaction.

patient journey

That being said, here are four additional steps you can take to ensure a successful patient journey at each stage:

  • Optimize your healthcare website. For a positive pre-visit experience, take advantage of healthcare SEO. Optimizing your medical website for search engines allows your patients to easily find information about your healthcare services, medical practitioners, and more.
  • Improve hospital wayfinding. Place hospital maps and navigation signs (e.g. for entrances, exits, parking, cafeteria, etc.) to help your patients find their way around your hospital. This can alleviate stress and save time, thus improving the patient experience.
  • Upgrade your waiting room. For most patients, waiting is the most stressful part of visiting the doctor’s office. To provide a better waiting experience for your patients and their families during their visit, consider improving your waiting room.
  • Collect and analyze patient feedback. Patient feedback surveys can reveal opportunities for improvement. For example, if many patients are unhappy with your receptionist’s communication, consider trying medical staff training.

Learn more about actual preferences of your patients and make right decisions via Management Reporting Module at Medesk.

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And that’s all!

By now, you should have a better understanding of patient journey mapping.

Before you go, however, let’s quickly go over some of the key points of this article:

  • The patient journey represents the entire experience a patient has at your medical practice, including before, during, and after receiving medical treatment.
  • Patient journey mapping allows healthcare practitioners to get insight into their medical practice from the patient’s perspective, which helps to make necessary improvements.
  • Patient journey mapping brings numerous advantages to both medical practices and patients, some of which include improved communication between healthcare providers and patients, optimized clinical workflows, and improved patient retention.
  • Using practice management software can improve all stages of the patient journey.
  • Improving hospital navigation, optimizing your practice’s website, collecting patient feedback, and upgrading your waiting room can help to ensure a successful patient journey.
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