Our last article, “Why Your Patient Journey May Be Incomplete?” discussed how to create and leverage the patient journey, but in order to deliver optimal healthcare we must not forget to consider the stakeholders that exist around the patient. While it is of course important to provide useful information to the physicians treating the patient directly, securing face-to-face meetings with doctor is becoming more and more difficult. Furthermore, as policymakers respond to resource limitations by driving the expectation that treatment delivery must leverage all available local resources, our target stakeholders should be expanded to include not only physicians, but also a wide range of healthcare professionals, government bodies, and other players. The concept of “Community Alignment,” in which each party plays a role in providing necessary support and services where they are closest to the patient, is likely to become the axis of our future healthcare business.
Clarify the best intervention for patients
A “usable” patient journey is one that identifies important points of divergence in the patient care process, selects the right “chapters” to focus on, and then analyzes each of those in depth. Personas (patient profiles) are developed based on the representative images of patients within the disease state being considered, and it is often helpful to have several different personas for unique patient segments. This is because even for the same disease, patients will differ in terms of age, symptoms, living environment, etc., and therefore require different types of support.
Because the needs and challenges change with each combination of patient and stakeholder, appropriate interventions will also vary. We at 3Rock refer to these combination points as the “intersection of medical needs,” and advocate that defining effective interventions at such specific crossroads can bring positive change to the patient’s treatment process. We emphasize that a stand-alone patient journey by itself is not sufficient to illuminate these points, as the required intervention will depend on the timing of the encounter, the stage of the disease, the specific healthcare provider and/other stakeholders involved, and what behavior change and benefit to the patient is being facilitated. So, in addition to a focus on the patient, deep analysis and understanding of the stakeholders and these intervention points are also crucial.
Here a Customer Experience Map can be created to illustrate the process through which each stakeholder can best intervene with the patient.
We start with the question, “Who is the customer?” Although the prescribing physician is the main person involved in the treatment of the patient, various stakeholders such as referred specialists, nurses, pharmacists, government, insurers, and the patient’s family and friends also influence the provision of treatment – so we consider them all “customers”.
For each of the key customers required, the steps in creating a customer experience map are as follows:
1. Identify the point of intersection: this refers to how, when and where the customer interacts with the patient along the patient journey.
2. Set objectives: define what behavior change might be achieved by the customer when making contact with the patient in a different way. Put another way, one should define the ideal “To Be” versus the current “As Is” state.
3. Understand the customer’s perspective: if there is no current contact point, or if that contact point is somehow not being leveraged, consider what appropriate support options exist to create or improve it. To do this, we must clearly understand the context that is influencing the customer not to provide the optimal support, judgment, or choice for that intervention point at the current time. This includes both logical perspectives and emotional drivers, such as prerequisite knowledge and awareness that might be lacking, other challenges or difficulties they might be facing in that moment, etc.
4. Improve customer engagement: consider measures that we might enact to optimize these customer engagements along the patient journey. If necessary, segment customers and create personas to best influence certain groups of stakeholders effectively.
5. Map and visualize: using the Patient Journey as a core horizontal axis, consider measures that can influence behavior for each customer (shown vertically) at specific points.
Create an action plan based on omni-channel
When thinking about the customer evolutions required before connecting with a specific patient at a specific stage of their journey, a useful method for tracking customer awareness and behavior change is the “Mindset Change Pyramid” concept. Through step-by-step actions and communications with the customer (shown on the left), we can trigger the desired incremental changes in awareness and motivation that lead the customer toward a final goal. The behavior change thus achieved at a specific “intersection of needs” can provide significant value both to patients and the medical community that strives to serve them, while also allowing the company to grow.
One of the most important things to be aware of in this process is the role of “omnichannel” thinking. Making diverse channels seamless and available to customers will speed and enhance the customer experience along this change trajectory. But in the process of creating your brand plan, be sure to not only consider channel shifts from the company’s perspective, but design the best community engagement opportunities from a customer-centric point of view.
While many people influence a patient’s treatment process, our primary customer remains the prescribing physician. Therefore, the basic idea to keep in mind is to support and improve key points of intervention for the prescriber as they connect along the patient journey. Often there are multiple stakeholders acting in the background, and often one customer can effectively influence another, which then eventually helps to achieve our desired change in patient treatment. This is “community alignment,” whereby each stakeholder plays their own important role in accompanying the patient on their journey, and guiding them to optimal treatment.
3Rock will hold a “Pharma Strategy & Implementation Bootcamp” to help you achieve behavioral change in patients and customers by utilizing these concepts of omni-channel and “community alignment” to mobilize stakeholders.
Please feel free to let us know your thoughts or comments on this article, or topics you would like to read about in future installments of 3Rock Insights, by filling out the form below.