Question: How do we carve out the brand story and meet them where they need us most?
In the ICU, while standing bedside next to a sedated patient on a respirator after acute myocardial infarction, is deep reality. The day before, the patient (Robin S., age 65) felt relatively fine. It was after breakfast the next day things started to feel awkward and then it was sudden. A heart attack. Marketers refer to this as the patient journey. Today, this one journeyed herself into a hospital bed, near death. Within a few weeks, she was home. Given her instructions and continual attention from caregivers both from family and clinicians, she improved and overtime, she resumed her life in a normal way.
As an internet user, one who stays in contact with friends and family while also using it for research for her work, Robin turned to the internet, once her energy improved at home. She wanted to gain any insights as to what exactly happened to her over the past six weeks. Even as she is armed with physician information, clinical orders, prescriptions and regular schedule of physical therapy, she is not sure if she 'got' all the information. Frankly, she isn't sure if she remembers all the details. The downward spiral into ICU is spotty, at best, in her recall. The hospital stay and rehabilitation plus the pharmacology has left her with slight malaise. She does not have a full recollection of the events that led to the hospitalization.
Robin's online research begins with some keywords into Google which leads her to the American Heart Association where she studies and then watches an animated video of a heart attack in action. She nods her head slowly, then closes her eyes. A tear falls from her eye. She is obviously assimilating to this very personal and very emotional experience. She recollects that she was in her living room and her daughter came by to have coffee. The rest is something she has absolutely no recall. Her daughter found her on the floor. The ambulance was called. It is unknown how long she was on the floor. She was rushed to the emergency room and from there moved to ICU. She suffered a massive heart attack and the emergency physicians saved her life.
Continuing to research, she then clicked on to every site to explain her prescriptions. The resources were plenty. She then discovered 'Patients Like Me' which gave her insights into other experiences. Within a few short hours, her health anxiety was calmed with the idea that she had more information and comradery with others she could share insights and experiences. Although in her calmness over the next few months, there is a deep sense of depression and grief that overwhelm her. A feeling unlike anything she has ever known. She learns that other heart attack patients have also had similar reactions. She learns that counseling would be a restorative direction. On the internet, she researches counselors and decides to chooses a licensed social worker as her counselor to discuss her grief of almost losing her life.
For the digital world, this is what we call The Patient Pathway. The patient conducted her own research using the internet. She found her own resources to turn to. As she moved through the internet, digital marketers also gained insights of the patient. What information she needed, timing of her research, where her research lead her and so on.
Information became available to her when she needed it most. Also, her wearables, her personal medical records, her self-education and her clinical team, (to include her pharmacists) have assisted in her knowledge gathering. If health organizations are not addressing this process now, they will need to soon.
The Patient Pathway is a health scenario but the customer journey is common for most industries. Have you mapped out yours?