Customer Experience Mapping with Patients

Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2023 in Customer Experience by Patricia Seybold

Three years ago, we led a very successful patient-centric co-design session for a small health center in rural, coastal Maine. The issue: this region is a hotbed of tick-borne diseases. There are many people who suffer from chronic lyme along with co-infections from the other tick-borne diseases. These are hard to diagnose and hard to treat.

In the "Issues & Vision" session, in which patients talk and doctors and other stakeholders just listen and take notes, each patient told his or her story. In virtually every case, patients had had a difficult time finding a health care provider who took them seriously and didn't think they were just being psychosomatic. Patients tried many doctors before finding "lyme-literate" practitioners who were really experienced with the symphony of ever-changing symptoms these diseases provide. Another common pattern was that these patients relied heavily on naturopathic practitioners for treatments that alleviated symptoms and helped them regain their health. They all also reported that these diseases don't go away. They tend to flare back up when you are under stress. Patients reported that non-lyme literate providers would often treat them with drugs that made them worse and were very dismissive about the naturopathic alternatives that were actually working for them.

Patient Experience Mapping

During the ensuing customer-led mapping session, we divided the patients into two teams--those who had been diagnosed and treated at the onset of their disease (because they knew they had a tick bite) and those who had gone undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed for a number of years. The doctors and health coordinators picked which team they wanted to work with. As always, with our Customer Scenario Mapping method, the patients' moments of truth/show stoppers, and the customer success metrics for each moment of truth, catalyzed the most innovative discussions and insights.

The patients' biggest showstoppers were:

    1. You don't believe this is a REAL disease! 2. The treatment isn't working! 3. My diagnosis & treatment isn't covered by my health insurance!

Since that workshop, the Health Center hired a Nurse Practitioner who was a "Lyme-Literate" provider. She diagnosed and treated 100's of patients not only from the local community the Health Center is chartered to serve, but patients came from across the state and from other states. In fact, the demand was overwhelming! The Center finally had to refocus primarily on serving its local patients, and still maintains a strong practice in correctly diagnosing and treating tick-borne illnesses.


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