Prof. Dr. Yan Valle
Vitiligo Research Foundation (New York, USA)
Vitiligo Patient Journey Map
Author: Yan Valle
Vitiligo is an unpredictable, immune-mediated, life-long skin disease. Symptoms are temporarily reversible with a range of treatments, with relapse occurring in nearly half of all patients within four years of stopping treatment. Patients are routinely misdiagnosed and mistreated due to the lack of vitiligo specialists.
Patient journey map is a tool that enables healthcare providers to optimize their service in a particular environment. From provider’s perspective, patient goes through pre-defined stages of diagnosis, treatment, reimbursement and follow-up for a certain disease.
From vitiligo patient’s perspective, such journey begins with the symptom manifestation and – for a number of reasons – often goes through stages of delayed diagnosis, semi/effective treatments, and condition worsening.
We sought to examine each step of vitiligo patient journey to better understand disease triggers, factors influencing patient’s decisions, healthcare pathways, timelines and care boundaries faced by patients. Our first step was to identify major touch-points with the healthcare industry and create a visual outline. Project participants were asked to describe their personal experience, mindset and emotions that mark each step, in a controlled environment.
The present Vitiligo Patient Journey Map is an educational tool for a healthcare setting. It is designed to get patient onto fast-track lane towards the most effective treatment, with a clear understanding of different disease management options and lifestyle choices.
A better understanding of vitiligo patient perspective can lead to improved treatment outcomes and higher quality of life.
Yan Valle specializes in digital healthcare tools and solutions. Citizen-centered, digital-first. After receiving MSc degree in electrical engineering, Yan received certification in computer engineering and later – a degree in business administration. For over 15 years he enjoyed a successful business career consulting for multinational corporations and private clients in emerging markets. For years prior to establishment of the VR Foundation, he served as a Director of Business Development at a leading technology company in Toronto.
Since 2010, Yan is leading a not-for-profit research organization focused on drug development programs in vitiligo. He prides himself for bringing together the interests of vitiligo patients and those capable of developing appropriate treatments. Under his management the VR Foundation has set up many ambitious projects like a global awareness campaign – the World Vitiligo Day.
A visiting Professor, Yan has also been supporting multidisciplinary research at Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi in Rome, Italy since 2014.
Research interests: big data, clinical decision support tools, digital healthcare, longevity, machine learning, mobile medical applications, medical education, pigmentary disorders, sports and training, vitiligo