Building a patient journey that doesn’t just end with a contact form: How to actually get new patients in your doors

OK honest question — how many times have you worked with a marketing agency that has reported on conversions (phone calls and form fills) but not actually reported on how many of those conversions turned into new patients?

This situation tends to be the norm, and it often leads to inflated numbers and not much clarity into marketing strategy. 

Here’s what we mean: A phone call and a form fill are great first steps to getting a new patient, but if people ultimately aren’t coming into your clinic, then that “conversion” hasn’t actually moved your bottom line. It’s just a fluff stat. 

It’s critical to know how many people are filling out leads, but not scheduling, and why they aren’t scheduling. Is it an insurance issue? Payment issue? Travel? Unsure of what to expect/fear? (This is a big one for mental health and surgery centers.) If your reporting just stops at conversions/leads, you won’t be able to see the whole picture of what’s happening with your marketing efforts. You have to understand the gap between leads and appointments, and then use that information to build a patient journey on your site that answers those concerns head-on, so by the time people fill out a form or call in, they are already qualified and ready to schedule. 

There’s a big difference in someone filling out a contact form and actually becoming a patient who pays for your healthcare services. That’s why we’re here to help you learn about the importance of building a patient journey. Then we’ll discuss how you can convert people into patients through patient journey mapping.

The stages of a patient journey

When we talk about a patient journey, we’re referring to the specific steps that a person takes from the second that they learn about your practice to becoming a loyal patient. It’s essentially their individual experience as someone seeking to improve their health and wellness. By learning about the different stages of a patient journey, you can strategize how to move a person from one step to the next.

Remember, the goal for successful marketing is not just to gain a new patient — it’s to build an advocate who is so bought into your brand and services that they refer you to everyone they know. That kind of advocacy begins with a patient journey, the first second a person interacts with your brand.

A patient journey is relevant in every facet of the healthcare system, from a family physician to a specialized physical therapist. The stages of a patient journey are:

  • Awareness — This means that a person has acknowledged that they need care and have found you in their search for treatment. When a person has learned about your services, such as through online searches or marketing campaigns, and interacted in some way, they have started their patient journey. SEO plays a large role in this stage, because many patients will turn to search engines to learn about available treatment.
  • Consideration — Health shouldn’t be taken lightly. A prospective patient wants to make sure that a provider is the right fit for their particular needs. This stage in the patient journey is where they’ll consider many factors before making the decision to choose you as their provider. This often refers to accessibility, insurance coverage and reviews. Communication through emails and targeted campaigns can go a long way in this stage.
  • Patient acquisition — At this point, the person has decided to move forward and make an appointment with you. Depending on how they’re booking, they may run into issues that could prevent them from finishing this stage, such as confusion over the paperwork or the inability to find the scheduling link online. Digital solutions can help them successfully schedule the appointment through automated processes. 
  • Care delivery — In the eyes of the patient, this is what it’s all about. This stage consists of the appointment itself, which includes everything from consultation and treatment to payment and discharge. Even though your care delivery all stems from your knowledge and bedside manner, the patient satisfaction can also be improved through strategies like a billing management software and feedback collection.
  • Patient loyalty — Moving from patient acquisition to patient retention is one of the largest roadblocks you’ll face on a patient journey. Will they come back after care delivery for future issues? A person becomes a regular patient when you use your resources to build a relationship with them, such as transparent communication, streamlined scheduling and high-quality engagement when you’re face-to-face.

How patient journey mapping can help your practice

As we’ve shown, a patient’s journey touches many points throughout their process with you, and it’s important that you’re following along with them every step of the way. Journey mapping, sometimes known as healthcare process mapping, gives you the chance to see the patient’s journey through the perspective of a healthcare provider and how you can strategize to move them to the next stage.

Patient journey mapping means asking the right questions to learn about their patient personas and monitoring their progress as they interact with your practice. The benefits of patient journey mapping include:

  • Personalizing the experience to their needs for consumer-driven care.
  • Effectively communicating for a good patient-provider relationship.
  • Determining needs for aftercare following treatment.

Want to build a patient journey? BURG+CO. can help

Increasing traffic to your website plays a role in increasing conversions and leading to new clients. However, it’s difficult to attract visitors to your site when you don’t know what to do. Fortunately, this is what we specialize in at BURG+CO.

Our team has years of experience in helping businesses improve their digital presence to attract new leads and retain existing ones. If you’re looking to perform better in search engine results and attract more visitors to your site, we’re ready to talk to you to see how we can help. Contact our team today for more information about digital marketing or to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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