Map Your Patient Experience

As a healthcare provider, it is on you to create a seamless process for every patient from start to finish. You must understand the actions they take to seek and receive hearing care in order to positively impact their experience. By doing so, you can prioritize patient outreach, communicate more effectively with patients, and ultimately deliver better care. 

A patient journey map is a physical representation of the path a patient takes to receive care. Continue reading to learn more about why developing such maps puts your practice at an advantage and how to get started.

Why should you map your patient experience?

Your patients’ experience begins before they enter your practice. They take many steps from the initial “trigger,” which could be a diagnosis or acknowledgment of hearing loss, to their first appointment at your practice and beyond.

Each patient’s journey is different but follows the same high-level stages:

  • Awareness: Patient identifies the need for hearing care
  • Consideration: Patient researches treatment and provider options and schedules an appointment
  • Purchase: Patient is prescribed and fitted for hearing aids and makes a purchase
  • Advocacy: Patient shares their positive experience with friends, family, and peers

To provide the most value for patients, you’ve got to engage them at each stage. Developing patient journey maps help you to see your experience from the patient perspective and get a deeper understanding of their wants and needs throughout.

Steps for creating a patient experience map

Where should you begin in creating your patient journey maps? We’ve got you covered, step by step. 

Create patient personas for different segments

First, consider who your patients are. Obviously, every individual who comes to your office is different, but think about what they have in common. Where do they live? How old are they? What are their interests? What do they need from you?

Do this exercise with existing patients, patients seeking hearing care for the first time, and new patients coming from a different hearing care provider. In addition to general demographics, think about their process before they visit your clinic, while they are in your office, and after they’ve left. Get your employees’ perspective and offer patients a survey to gather even more information. 

Map out patient journey paths

Once you’ve created patient personas, start mapping out journeys for each, taking into account their goals, wants, and needs at every stage.

The questions below can help you develop your maps:

  • What causes patients to realize or decide they need hearing care? (This can take weeks, months, or even years for some patients)
  • Where do patients look to discover solutions for their hearing loss?
  • How do patients select your practice (or a different one)?
  • How do patients schedule an appointment?
  • How do patients prepare for their appointment?
  • What occurs when the patient is in your office?
  • What steps do patients take to purchase hearing aids?
  • What do patients do after leaving your office?

Consider all touchpoints involved in each stage

It’s not only important to know what your patients are doing across the phases of their journey, but it’s also key to know where they are. A patient will likely use various communication channels throughout their experience. Search engines, review sites, clinic websites (yours and your competitors’), social media, and referrals from physicians and/or peers may all play a role in a patient’s process for seeking hearing care.  

Acknowledge these touchpoints and have a presence across channels to boost both practice awareness and patient acquisition. 

Consider all pain points involved at each stage

Finally, include the challenges patients may come across throughout their experience. These could include finding reliable reviews, comparing different providers, researching and understanding treatment or product options, dealing with the high costs of certain providers or products, and returning to a provider for follow-up care.

Brainstorm how you can help patients overcome these challenges and make their experience easier.

Implement your patient map

Understanding your patients is essential for acquisition and retention. Patients are looking for healthcare providers that meet their needs and offer convenience, efficiency, and value in the exam room and beyond.

Use these patient journey maps to inform your goals, marketing initiatives, and the in-office experience you provide patients. 

Patient Journey Workbook

To get you started, we’re offering our Patient Journey Workbook to serve as a template for your patient experience maps. Download the workbook here.

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