Journey Maps Use Novel Research Tool
Dr. Julian Mitton, system director for population health policy at CommonSpirit Health, in collaboration with Dr. Benjamin Bearnot and co-researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA), submitted journey maps to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) that captured the care experiences of patients treated for injection drug use-associated endocarditis (a serious heart infection). These journey maps are a novel research tool borrowed from the marketing trade that visually represent the often complicated transitions of care that patients experience as they move across the care continuum and engage in health care in often fractured and unexpected ways. NIDA is interested in this work as a way to highlight opportunities to better care for these often marginalized, and costly, patients with drug-use associated infections. Drs. Mitton and Bearnot interviewed several patients in creating these maps, learning about their successes, challenges and the system failures they confronted in treatment for both endocarditis and addiction. Their work illustrated several opportunities for care improvement, including the value of early addiction treatment and intensive, interdisciplinary outpatient care that follows patients across the care continuum. This novel work highlights the ways in which our population health team is committed to caring for the most vulnerable patients.