Healthcare marketing is a twisted tango of decisions that aim to get the right messages to the right people at the right time. But to do that, you need some sort of guide to point you in the right direction. That’s where the patient journey comes in. Understanding its intricacies helps your brand engage in meaningful storytelling and connection with your target audience.
Unpacking the Patient Journey: What is It?
There are many definitions of the patient journey, but each touches on the same main idea: the patient journey encapsulates the progress and experiences patients face throughout each stage of a disease.In other words, the patient journey describes anything that happens to a patient following diagnosis. Interactions with healthcare providers (HCPs), emotions felt, and treatments experienced are merely a few examples of factors that might come into play.But the patient journey is more than an idea. It’s a tool for understanding and connection. And research suggests that mapping this journey may be the key to getting in touch with what patients want and need.
Why the Patient Journey is Essential
In the world of healthcare marketing, there may be no tool more valuable than the patient journey. It paints a clear picture of where your branding or media strategies should be headed and why.
Empathy. When messaging or brand efforts are relatable to patients, they’re more likely to leave an impact. Taking the time to truly understand what it’s like to walk in a patient’s shoes allows you to meet them where they’re at.
Authentic Connection. Ideally, a media or brand planning strategy will place your message in front of the right person at the right time. Understanding the patient journey helps you pinpoint where that might be. The result? Messages that feel tailored to the individual reading them.
Credibility. Building a sense of trust is an integral part of creating a successful brand that consumers will come back to. Show what you know to demonstrate that your brand is one to rely on.
No Journey is Complete Without a Map
Talking about the patient's journey is one thing, but bringing it to life is another.Mapping the patient journey can help you get a first-hand look at what your target patient feels, learns, and experiences. Think of your patient journey map as a key that guides you toward tailored media planning strategies.Creating a map usually requires input from patients and other stakeholders, such as HCPs. Gather information from first-hand experiences and clinical insight to understand each step of the journey.It may help to zoom in on specific services, too; you might, for instance, decide to map the journey a patient living with breast cancer experiences while seeking chemotherapy.All of this mapping and analyzing has one main goal: to understand how to engage with target patients. There may be no better way to ensure your media planning strategies make an impact.
OpenHuddle (2023). Storytelling in Healthcare Branding: The Key to Connection
Ellen L. Davies, PMC Pub Med Central (2022). Reporting and conducting patient journey mapping research in healthcare: A scoping review
OpenHuddle (2023). Maintaining Trust Amid the Push for Precision Marketing in Healthcare
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