How Journey Mapping Can Inform Design Decisions

In the healthcare domain, clinicians and patients experience the same scenarios - a journey that often begins with crisis or uncertainty, is followed by a carefully orchestrated process of testing, treating, and monitoring, all with the goal of improved or maintained wellness.  Along the way there are highs and lows, transitions of state, touch-points with many other people, systems, and places, and many other aspects to consider.

When creating products to support these clinical workflows, one needs to have a very good grasp of this entire journey. Journey maps are an excellent tool to help you collect and synthesize data about this journey, in order to find insights and opportunities.

What's a journey map?  It is a holistic view of all the touch-points or interactions people have with, or related to a product or service. The journey map also enables us to determine a number of key factors that help identify opportunities to innovate during the experience.

For example, the process of when a patient who was admitted to the emergency room is about to get discharged.  Think of the journey map as a timeline with phases; the map should include related information, touch-points, relative highs and lows, and opportunities.  For more information on journey mapping within healthcare discharge see A Better A&E.

A Better Accident & Emergency

A Better Accident & Emergency

Journey maps are an extremely useful output of user research. Methods to get the data to create journey maps include questionnaires; useful for collecting data about preferences, behaviors, facts, latent traits and attitudes.  Focus groups are useful for interviewing individuals with common interests or characteristics when under time pressure.  A moderator runs the session, and attempts to gain information about a specific issue.  Interviews help one to better understand the user's goals and needs by actually talking to individuals one-on-one. Semi-structured or unstructured interviews are often used to elicit substantive information.

Observation in the user's natural environment is a good way of minimizing experimental bias whilst gathering data. Contextual inquiry, which consists of collecting detailed information about a user's work practice by observing and interviewing the user while at work is a commonly used method of observation. A number of additional research techniques can be used; secondary sources such as documentation to understand policies and procedures within an organization.

Both qualitative and quantitative data should be used to inform the journey map.  Qualitative research answers the question, "Why?". Data is typically gathered directly by observing or interacting with the user.  Qualitative research can be used to ask follow-up questions, probe behavior, and is flexible enough to adjust observation protocol as the study progresses in order to meet research goals. Previously mentioned qualitative methods include focus groups, interviews and observation.

Quantitative research answers the question, "What?", "How many?", and "How much?"  Quantitative research data are analyzed and coded mathematically.  For example, an individual can use a questionnaire or web analytics to produce data.  Please see the image below from Arema Connect that provides an overview of qualitative and quantitative research in the context of marketing. 

Pain points and opportunities can be derived from observation. The researcher should resist proposing solutions right away because this can skew the research. Experience maps are meant to help stimulate and facilitate change by helping the team buy into using experience maps to assist in decision making; in addition, stakeholders are able to empathize with their customers more effectively.