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Journey Mapping: Design Best Practices for Improving Customer Experience

Digital | Analytics | Patient Experience

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, patients are looking to interact with healthcare the same way they look for flights on Kayak or make a dinner reservation on OpenTable–with speed and convenience. And as health systems look to respond, understanding consumer behavior and the patient journey will be critical to delivering a user experience that successfully meets patients’ needs and expectations.

Whether your organization is looking to do so by revamping your website or building a new mobile app, here are a few design best practices from our work with consumers to help your team deliver user experiences that delight.

Journey Mapping 101


To get to know our users and their journeys, we start with research: user observations, user surveys, diving into analytics, and most importantly face to face interviews. From the stories we hear during our research process, we start to map the different experiences they describe: from moving to a new city and trying to find a new PCP, being on vacation and needing Urgent Care, to being diagnosed with afib and researching a specialist.

We then synthesize our findings into user personas with a focus on motivators and barriers. These personas allow us to communicate our research within our teams so that we all have a common vision into who we are creating experiences for and why. Here at Kyruus, our consumer persona is Ashley. Ashley has a series of stories that are tied to different motivators and barriers depending on the circumstance. 

Finally, we map out each one of Ashley’s stories, identify the different stages of her story, and identify all the touchpoints and interactions she will have with our product along the way.

Helping Ashley with UX Best Practices

Leveraging known design patterns 

Searching for a doctor is more complicated, personal, and oftentimes more stressful than making a dinner reservation on OpenTable, ordering a pair of winter boots off of Amazon, or booking a tropical getaway on Airbnb–can you tell it’s winter here in Boston? But, we can leverage widely adopted design patterns to make Ashley feel more comfortable when using our product. 

“Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.” - Jakob’s Law

From the checkout flow, the location of the buy now or book now button, to the search results page and the filtering options - the more design patterns we can leverage from Ashley’s past experiences, the easier we can make this experience for her, in design this is called Jakob’s Law. 

Surfacing What’s Important 

We know Ashley’s motivators change depending on the situation. When she needs urgent care, the ability to save her spot ahead of time and the location are the most important to her. When she moved to Boston and needed a new PCP, the ratings and reviews, insurance accepted, and availability were the most important. 

Surfacing and delivering the right amount of relevant information without overwhelming Ashley is key. We alleviate this in design with layout, hierarchy, font-weight, text color & iconography.

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Removing Friction 

Reducing cognitive load and making the process as simple as possible is at the top of the list for product designers. In some circumstances, searching for a provider can be stressful for Ashley and stress can reduce cognitive function. So making sure there are no unnecessary actions, delays in site speed, that information is organized, layouts are symmetrical, and labels and call to actions are intuitive and obvious can all help reduce friction and allow Ashley to complete her goals more easily.

Measuring Success

We measure success in two phases, before launch and post launch. Before launch we conduct usability testing with prototypes (both high and low fidelity) to test ideas and concepts. We use heat-mapping, a/b testing, user interviews, and other methodologies to analytically drive our design decisions and lead our iteration process. 

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 11.08.32 AMAfter launch, we analyze behavior flows, goals, and funnels in Google Analytics. When Ashley is in the research phase of her journey, we monitor things like bounce rate and the time spent on a provider profile page and search results page. When Ashley has found a provider, we measure drop-off and abandonment rates during her online booking process. 

Furthermore, when we roll out new user experiences we compare the pre and post launch measurements to ensure our new designs improved Ashley’s experience, and if not we iterate again.


To learn more about the patient journey, best practices for expanding access, and how other health systems are improving experience, visit our Resource Center.