Four-Step User Journeys for Better Healthcare Experiences
Healthcare is an ever-changing industry. So, if you work in healthcare communications, it’s important to stay on top of trends in how people interact with healthcare providers, services, and information. Through our work with clients, we’ve found a four-step user journey for connecting patients with healthcare organizations. So, we wanted to share how we leverage this strategy to help our clients succeed.
It starts with making a connection. Often this arises from an immediate need such as seeking urgent care, locating a doctor or a specialist, or finding service, and aligning those needs to a specific location. It’s important to make sure your website caters to these needs by allowing patients to quickly connect with you.
At Velir, we connect you with your patients in the following ways:
- We optimize your website for search engines, so patients can find you in your key markets.
- We identify current behaviors on your website and optimize user paths, so patients accomplish their goals and get a great first impression of your organization.
Once a connection has been made, patients want to learn more. Having an easy-to-use “Find a Doctor” section of your website allows them to connect with a doctor and read doctors’ profiles. You should also make sure that the “Services” section of your website is easy to find and navigate. If done well, patients will go beyond this initial connection and exploration to learn more about how your healthcare organization can help them.
We help support patient exploration on your website in a couple of ways:
- We think empathetically about the needs of your audiences, and their reasons for visiting your website. Then we prioritize their needs with an effective information architecture and content hierarchy.
- We map out your organization’s attributes, such as physicians, locations, and services into structured taxonomies and apply them throughout your content.
After a patient learns more about a specific service, doctor, or location of yours, they want to confirm they’re choosing the right provider. To help them confirm this, it's important to offer them case studies, patient stories, and topic-based blogs. Understanding how others have gone through similar journeys helps patients feel more comfortable moving forward. To help them feel welcome, you should also ensure that your content is inclusive and accessible.
We help your patients confirm they’re choosing the right health system in the following ways:
- We leverage the taxonomies identified for your organization and cross-reference compelling emotional content, such as patient stories, with your services and clinicians so patients develop trust that you can handle cases like theirs.
- We can help you identify the right personas to elevate and optimize through case studies and testimonials.
Once a patient connects with you, explores your services, and confirms their desire to work with you, they need to easily manage their relationship with you. We’re seeing increased trends towards integrating with electronic health record (EHR) systems such as Epic that connect tools within the EHR to your website’s front-end. Features like “open scheduling” allow your patients to use a self-service model for booking appointments right from your website. These integrations ease the process of account and appointment management while putting more control in your patients’ hands.
We confirm that your patients can complete the patient journey and book an appointment with your clinicians using the following methods:
- We build integrations with your EHR system to minimize the friction that often occurs when patients move from your website to your EHR system.
- In addition to building back-end integrations, we work with our design and UX team to strategically place customer-facing entry points on the front-end of your website to advance your patients’ journeys.
We’re keeping a close eye on how current and prospective patients are using the web but have certainly seen consistency in the Connection > Exploration > Confirmation > Management user journey framework. This framework is a great way to start thinking about your digital experiences, or to prioritize smaller digital efforts in your digital roadmap. Looking for help connecting with your patients? Contact us.