Patient Journeys Reveal Opportunity for an Enhanced Patient Experience

The Problem



A major pharmaceutical manufacturer introduced a new brand into a competitive market. Brand leaders wanted much deeper knowledge of patients’ experience with the brand—including how patients encountered and lived with treatment regimens, how treatments affected their emotions—to design valuable services that could set the brand apart from competitors.

The Solution

ZS researched the patient experience to understand the specific timing of events during a course of treatment, and the subsequent emotions patients feel as they undergo treatment.  ZS identified points during the patients’ experience during which they could benefit from communications. ZS took the following approach:

  • Mapped what we know about the patient experience from existing research and data, and developed a research plan to fill the gaps.
  • Uncovered deeper insights by getting a 360-degree view of the patient journey through in-depth interviews with patients and the multiple stakeholders who closely interact with them.
  • Synthesized and prioritized the opportunities for new patient interventions and touchpoints.


The research uncovered several key insights that could dramatically improve the patient experience:

  • Typically patients experience between six and 20 interactions with various stakeholders before initiating treatment.
  • Successful patients rely on internal motivation and family support to overcome the negative emotions and side effects of treatment.
  • While many resources address patients’ functional needs, few address their emotional needs.

From this research, we and our client identified four patient personas, each of which revealed distinct opportunities for differentiated communications and interventions. By designing services to address the unmet needs of these personas, our clients are now able to increase service utilization, enhance the patient experience and increase patient adherence.