Healthcare organizations are known for their complexity. That includes everything from the regulations they must follow and the technology systems they utilize to the services they provide. Which means that in healthcare, there’s no such thing as a “simple” business problem.
As a result, it can be difficult for healthcare executives to make confident business decisions. That’s especially true when it comes to the thorniest issues — things like process inefficiencies, outdated legacy systems, and complex workflows. Without clear direction on how to resolve them, issues like these often fester until they become serious business problems. In the process, they act as major drains on healthcare organizations forced to compete in increasingly saturated markets.
So how can an executive like you make smart, strategically sound business decisions related to your healthcare organization’s tech strategy? Start with a journey map.
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
Put simply, customer journey mapping (or journey mapping) is a way of visually mapping individual user touchpoints within a complex system.
For example, journey mapping can be used to show how users interact with a digital product or tool at each interaction point in order to improve a product’s UX. It can also be used by marketers to chart and optimize customer journeys — that is, the series of touchpoints consumers encounter on their path from prospect to buyer to customer. Finally, journey maps can be applied to internal processes or enterprise experiences as a way to evaluate and improve workflows, efficiency, and communication.
In each scenario, journey mapping is so useful because it gives your team a holistic picture of:
- Every individual touchpoint within a particular product, system, or experience.
- Who owns each touchpoint, and how they manage it (roles and responsibilities).
- How individual touchpoints relate to each other (interdependencies).
- What is and isn’t working well for users (customers and/or internal team members) at the system and individual touchpoint levels.
- The root causes of bigger-picture problems.
With these critical details in hand, healthcare organizations like yours can quickly gain a shared understanding of your product, system, or user experience. This sets the stage for proper prioritization — and smart decision-making.
How Your Healthcare Organization Can Leverage Customer Journey Mapping to Make Smart Decisions
At UpTop Health, journey mapping is a key part of our process when we partner with healthcare organizations on digital initiatives.
To start, we draft a rough journey map by conducting initial research and stakeholder interviews. Next, we gather all the key stakeholders together to review and refine each step in the journey map. This collaborative approach ensures that we build a comprehensive map, uncover interdependencies between touchpoints, and bring the full team into a deeper understanding of their existing system. Finally, we work with our clients to identify the biggest pain points, prioritize issues, and ideate solutions.
By the time we’re finished, you are equipped to make confident, strategic business decisions. This is because our approach to journey mapping allows healthcare organizations like yours to:
Bring stakeholders into alignment
In most healthcare organizations, key decision makers are several steps removed from the nitty-gritty details of the individual touchpoints that make up a product or system.
That makes sense.
Executives are supposed to think big picture. But in order to make the best, most informed business decisions, they must also be able to tap into the details. They need to understand how a particular decision or course of action will impact each constituent part of a larger system.
Because most healthcare business problems are multifaceted — touching on multiple functional teams and technology systems — no one person on the team (not even the CEO, CTO, or Chief Growth Officer) typically has the full view.
The best way to get everyone on the same page? Bring all your key stakeholders and decision-makers together in a collaborative journey-mapping exercise.
Uncover the root causes of bigger-picture business problems
You may already have a strong idea of the business problem you are trying to solve. Much more challenging is uncovering the deeper roots and underlying friction points that are actually to blame.
For example, you may know that your team is failing to consistently hit the terms of your service level agreements (SLAs). But why? From where you’re sitting, the exact reasons for your team’s lackluster performance may not be readily apparent.
By collaboratively mapping your team’s internal processes, you can zero in on the precise touchpoints that are dragging down your team’s performance. Maybe your internal process includes a handful of previously unidentified redundancies. Or perhaps an outdated legacy system is forcing your team to come up with time-consuming manual workarounds.
Understanding the root causes of your organization’s most complex problems is the first step in making well-considered business decisions.
Identify possible solutions
Once you understand the root cause or causes of the bigger problem you are trying to solve, you can begin to hone in on possible solutions.
Because the journey map reveals which touchpoints are causing the most friction, your team can start brainstorming with those interactions in mind. Having specific sub-issues to solve against can make big-picture problem solving much less daunting — and much more achievable.
Enable smart prioritization
When we bring clients through our journey mapping process, we don’t stop when the journey map is complete. We guide clients through a number of exercises that enable them to prioritize issues and next steps. These include:
- Mapping each issue or area of friction to specific KPIs. If solving a particular problem won’t move the needle on a KPI, it probably shouldn’t be a top priority.
- Impact versus effort exercises. How much effort will you need to invest to resolve each issue? And what’s the ROI of doing so? Low-effort, high-impact solutions are low-hanging fruit.
- Connecting pain points to users’ emotional response. What’s the intensity of your key stakeholders’ emotional response to each problem? The more negative your users’ response, the more important it may be to quickly resolve an issue.
Finally, we work with our clients to creatively ideate solutions by asking open-ended “how might we?” questions. This approach allows participants to approach problem solving with genuine curiosity and remain open to one another’s ideas.
Once we have a number of proposed solutions on the board, we use a simple dot-voting process to give each participant the opportunity to weigh in. Executive decision-makers typically have the final say, of course. But our process allows each stakeholder to voice an opinion and be heard. The result? Increased buy-in and alignment as a team moves toward a final business decision.
Interested in hearing more about how UpTop can help your healthcare organization make confident business decisions related to complex problems? We’d love to talk.