Mapping NZ Medical Cannabis Patient “Journeys”

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Medical cannabis in New Zealand

Medical cannabis company Helius and post-graduate students at the University of Auckland want to hear from patients and healthcare providers in New Zealand.

The initiative is seeking to investigate the needs and challenges related to various patients navigating the process from discovery to consumption of medical cannabis products.

“Customer journey mapping helps us to understand how patients discover, evaluate, select, purchase and consume medicinal cannabis products or services,” says Helius. “As our nascent industry evolves, this work is critical to delivering quality medical experiences in an era of constantly connected, hyper informed patients.”

Helius says it is also important to understand the experiences of the country’s healthcare professionals such as prescribers and pharmacists as they also navigate what is a new field of clinical practice.

The elements to be mapped include:

  • Touchpoints – basically, communications and interactions
  • Timelines – the amount of time touchpoints last
  • External influences – factors creating an impact beyond the health system’s control
  • Internal influences – those factors within health system control
  • Barriers – any challenges preventing the patient journey moving forward

A Challenging Time For NZ’s New Medical Cannabis Program

Kicking off anything new is always quite challenging, but throw in a global pandemic and it becomes even more so.

Regulations providing for commercial medicinal cannabis cultivation and manufacturing in New Zealand came into effect on April 1 – in the midst of the country’s COVID-related lockdown.

Helius notes separately that while NZ’s Medicinal Cannabis Agency had been striving towards publishing medicinal cannabis licence and activity application forms, and other important materials on its web site in time for the program’s commencement, the challenges posed by COVID-19 has frustrated these efforts. Additionally, staff are not able to work from their usual offices and while still working remotely, they are unable to answer phone calls. All communications are via email (medicinalcannabis@health.govt.nz) – but expect a few days’ wait for a response given the volume of enquiries.

At the time of writing, guidance documents were still unavailable on the Medical Cannabis Agency website.

Regulations for New Zealand’s program were released in December last year.