Adore Digital | 23 January 2023


The patient journey is the totality of an individual’s experience with a healthcare system, from the moment they become aware of their need for care, to the completion of their treatment and recovery. Understanding the patient journey is a critical element of effective healthcare marketing, as it helps healthcare providers tailor their services to meet their patients’ needs.

The patient journey consists of five distinct stages: awareness, exploration, decision, experience, and recovery.  At each stage, patients have different behaviors, needs, and attitudes. By understanding the patient journey, healthcare providers can create tailored marketing messages that target and influence the right audiences.

At the awareness stage, patients first become aware of their health issue, either through online research or being prompted by a doctor or friend. Healthcare providers can market their services in this stage by providing helpful information on the issue and highlighting the benefits of their services.

The exploration stage in the patient journey is when the patient is researching their treatment options and researching healthcare providers or facilities. During this stage, the patient is gathering information from various sources and considering which treatment plans or facilities they want to pursue. This stage can involve conversations with medical professionals, friends, family, or online resources. It also requires the patient to make decisions about how to structure their treatment plan, such as whether to choose in-person or online visits, what medications to take, and which medical professionals to visit. By the end of this stage, the patient should have a thorough understanding of their options and be comfortable making decisions.

The decision stage on the patient journey is when the patient and clinician come together to make decisions about the patient’s care. This stage involves collecting and interpreting evidence from the patient’s story and recommendations from healthcare professionals, to decide the best course of action for the patient. It may also involve discussions about any next steps, such as referral to a specialist for further treatment or assessment. During this stage, both the patient and the clinician make decisions involving diagnosis, treatment and management.

Experience stage in patient journey

1. Diagnosis: During this stage, a patient is assessed by a healthcare professional to determine if they have a medical condition. Diagnoses are made based on a range of tests and assessments, such as physical examinations, laboratory tests, and imaging procedures.
2. Treatment: This stage involves developing a treatment plan for the patient, typically including the use of medications, therapies, surgeries, lifestyle changes, or other modalities to help improve the patient's condition.
3. Recovery: During this stage of the patient journey, the patient is actively recovering from their treatments and working with healthcare professionals and family members to come to an optimal level of health.
4. Post-care: After a patient recovers, it is important for them to receive follow-up care in order to maintain their health. This stage includes routine doctor visits, lifestyle modifications, and other tools to ensure a patient remains healthy and their condition does not worsen.
The recovery stage in the patient journey begins when the patient has completed their treatment. This stage involves a gradual return to wellbeing and activities of daily living. The patient's care team may recommend specific therapies or lifestyle changes to aid in their recovery and continued health. In this stage, the patient may still require medical monitoring in order to document any changes in their condition. The patient and their family are actively encouraged to take part in this process.  Ultimately, the patient's goal is to achieve a full recovery, which often requires both physical and emotional recovery.