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How to Map a Patient Journey

by Sara Foster | Dec 13, 2017

When it comes to mapping the patient journey, it’s all about the flow.

That’s the advice that presenters Amanda Hobbs, digital strategy manager for CHI Franciscan Health and Jennifer Kohnhorst, healthcare strategist for Bluespire Marketing gave to attendees during their presentation, “Mapping the Ideal Patient Experience in the Digital Age” during HCIC.

CHI Franciscan decided to focus on its bariatrics service line. Why? Three reasons: it’s profitable, there’s high demand for the service and there’s operational capacity for more patients.

“Our goal was to make all our content patient-centric and informative,” Hobbs says. “For starters, we wanted to think about the reasons why someone would consider bariatric surgery. Through our mapping, we wanted to shorten a patient’s decision cycle on having the surgery. That meant we needed to provide content that was educational and impactful — yet sympathetic and understanding to the journey our patients are on.”

The team had eight objectives in mind:

  1. Prequalify patients
  2. Increase the number of requested consults
  3. Increase number of completed consults
  4. Decrease conversion time to surgery
  5. Improve clinical outcomes through patient education process
  6. Decrease cost-per-lead
  7. Increase ROI
  8. Create online seminars

Despite their marketing goals, they were met with skepticism from doctors. For example, some doctors were confused why the team wasn’t putting up billboards to advertise the service line. Several doctors said they didn’t have “time” to be involved in lengthy interviews.


But HCI Franciscan’s marketing team countered back. The team hired Bluespire Marketing, a marketing firm, to present the case to doctors why digital trumps print. In addition, Bluespire asked physicians to fill out questionnaires about their practice vs. doing interviews, to save time.

Once the doctors got onboard, the marketing team started the work. That involved a lot of writing, researching and branding. Even something that seems simple — like finding models for the website and email required a lot of thought.

“If you go on our site or read any of our emails for this service line, you’ll see that our models look like our patients,” Hobbs says. “We wanted to pick models that really spoke to our patients.”

So far, the site has been a big hit — and doctors have quit asking about the billboards (for now).

Within 30 days of the site going live, these were a few highlights:

  • 482 users completed the initial assessment
  • 150 signed up for the online seminar
  • 78 requested an appointment form
  • 39 signed up for an in-person session
“Our overall goal is to really educate patients,” Hobbs says. “That way, when they come and make an appointment — they’ll be ready to have an educated, informed conversation with our surgeons.” 
  • HealthCare Marketing
  • patient journey
  • patient experience

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