Making the Shift from Journey Mapping to Journey Management to Improve Patient Experience and Health Outcomes
// By Rich Phillips //
The U.S. health care industry is undergoing tremendous change — some might say disruption. This is driven by multiple factors, including rising consumer expectations, the significant cost of care noncompliance, and the emergence of nontraditional competitors. To thrive within this tumultuous environment, health systems are increasingly focused on two important issues: (1) the ability to create exceptional patient experiences, and (2) the need to improve health outcomes, particularly those requiring patient engagement.
In the past, health systems have not been equipped with solutions that addressed these two goals, both of which involve the management of patient journeys. To date, the primary form of journey management has been implemented in the form of workflows for providers.
To address the need for patient-facing journey management, the only option available to health system executives historically has been to implement a fractured collection of solutions — EMR, web, texting, CRM, email, and more — and then hope to string these point solutions together as best as possible.
Unfortunately, this approach actually impedes the ability to create a streamlined patient journey, one that simplifies the experience and improves care compliance. The result is that the burden falls on the patient to navigate across multiple contact points spanning a complex health system, while trying to self-manage their care journey.
As a consequence, patients are increasingly frustrated, and their ability to follow clinical care plans is diminished. This challenge manifests itself in both a single-encounter journey as well as scenarios involving multi-encounter, chronic care, or population health management. In fact, according to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, the annual cost of patients not following their plan of care is a whopping $300 billion. This underscores the urgency to better manage care needs and journeys before the problem escalates into high-acuity circumstances that impact quality of life and carry significant financial consequences.
The big question is: How can health systems manage the patient journey to deliver exceptional patient experiences and improve health outcomes?