Building a walkthrough of a user interacting with a product, service, or experience can be highly revealing. This empathic approach provides insight and can also be used to tell a vivid story of the user’s experience.

When building a journey map, consider moments before, during, and after experience. Although a patient may be coming in for a routine surgery—think about the implications this surgery has on what they think, feel and do? 

Journey mapping can provide a personal look at the experience of patients, providers, and caregivers, and should be rooted in a deep understanding of individuals—who they are, where they come from, and what they care about.

We recommend conducting the appropriate user research prior to engaging in this exercise. Be cognizant of your organization’s policies and procedures when conducting research.


  1. Brainstorm users that may engage with the product, service, or experience you are exploring—both inside and outside of the hospital. Identify primary, secondary, and tertiary users, and prioritize focus.
  2. Determine the key qualities, characteristics, and contexts that are important to consider when interacting with your product, service, or experience. Gather and glean from all user research to date.
  3. Create low-level personas— fictitious personalities reflective of a user group. Next, select a persona to "bring to life." List out who they are and what they care about. Think about how you would describe a close friend or family member—their values, beliefs, motivations, and personality. Give them a name, a face, and a story.
  4. Identify the touch points where the user interacts with the product, service, or system—as well as what happens before, during, and after the experience.
  5. Visually map this journey from its inception to completion and consider each touchpoint in between.
  6. Compare and contrast a range of users. Analyze the experience from both sides of the transaction and consider how actions, interactions, and messages are communicated and interpreted between patients and caregivers— including clinical and non-clinical staff.
  7. Highlight key learnings and opportunities to impact health and well-being in the everyday experience. Where can your healthcare organization inspire and motivate its community to take better care of itself?

Journey maps provide tremendous insight into the current experience as well as envision the ideal. Remember to keep a clear purpose in mind when developing journey maps. For instance, engage in a journey mapping exercise around engagement with a particular service line or diagnostic procedure.