Mapping the Healthcare Consumer Journey

Insights into how patients experience the healthcare environment

Mapping the Healthcare Consumer Journey

In the news wrap-up of our presentation at the Healthcare Design Expo, we addressed the role of disruption in the rise of the empowered healthcare consumer. The result is an explosion of consumer choice – as it is in retail and financial industries that went before it. So, while disruption is the flashpoint for how we got here, where does healthcare go next? First up is a clear-eyed assessment of change within each institution. After all, you have to know where you are first before deciding where to go next.  Following closely behind, however, is identifying how consumers experience the healthcare environment and learning from best practices across industries to begin mapping a new route forward.

Every patient’s interaction with healthcare is judged based on expectations set by the best players in the hospitality industry, the financial services industry, and other areas where expert players have made a science of customer service.”

Consumers Demand a Seamless Journey

Mapping the Healthcare Consumer Journey

Healthcare consumers often begin their journey suddenly, as soon as a health need arises. Just like retail and financial, empowered consumers arm themselves with information through research. They find out what their options are with just a few clicks and scrolls and make decisions based on the best information available. It’s important to note that consumers begin experiencing your brand long before setting foot in the clinic. As such, healthcare providers must put their best brand forward and understand all of the channels of experience to attract and engage healthcare consumers. It’s vital that experiences are aligned to brand, as consumers traverse numerous brand touch points along their healthcare journey.

The Wellness Journey 

In the Journey of Wellness, each zone of experience represents a consumer needs-state and mindset. At the Attract zone, the healthcare consumer has a healthcare need and they want to find the easiest and best solution. At the Welcome zone, acknowledgement and convenience is what consumers want most. Seeing each zone of experience through the healthcare customer’s eyes is vital to making a meaningful journey. Adrenaline’s Chief Experience Officer, Gina Bleedorn, says, “A retail clinic may likely have slightly different target segments than a hospital. But start thinking about your target groups and start customizing the experience in a weighted fashion that caters to those target groups.”

Mapping the Healthcare Consumer Journey

Beyond Customer Satisfaction

Many healthcare institutions have focused on “patient satisfaction” as a measure of success in the healthcare consumer journey. Gina Bleedorn finds today’s healthcare expectations go well beyond satisfaction surveys. She says, “It’s imperative to understand that satisfaction is table stakes. It’s not about satisfaction. You should satisfy everybody hands-down. You’re going to need to reach way above satisfaction into creating meaningful, personalized, customized experiences. One of the best ways to do that is to start really thinking about your target customers and understanding how they’re experiencing your healthcare brand.”

Mapping the Healthcare Consumer Journey

For healthcare brands to succeed, they must start creating more meaningfully customized experiences. Gina Bleedorn says, “And the only way to do that is to think about – at least categorically – more individual need states of the people you serve and start to segment those out. The more personas you can develop and deliver on the better. But even beginning with a baseline of three segments of targets is better than one large ‘patient’ bucket. An 80-year-old, a 35-year-old mom with kids and a 25-year-old single guy have far different healthcare needs-states, experiences and expectations.” Personas will allow you to appreciate differences between distinct groups. It’s these differences that can make all the difference. 

In our next healthcare article, we will take a deeper dive into branding the healthcare experience. If you’d like to talk with one of our healthcare experts, contact us at

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