Using Healthcare Virtual Tours to Move Through The Stages of Change


In 1983, researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente presented the Stages of Change Model (or Transtheoretical Model of Change) which examined the decision making process that individuals go through when they quit smoking.  Their Stages of Change Model, SCM, has become widely accepted as a tool for understanding how people move through the decision making process associated with weight loss, addiction, or other physical and mental health issues.  The stages of change are:

  • Pre-Contemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Activity
  • Maintenance
  • Termination/Relapse

In the Pre-Contemplation Stage, the person has not admitted that their behavior is a problem therefore they don’t see a need to change.  They are not open to help because they do not acknowledge that they need help.  They are generally not interested in learning about programs that can help them at this time.


As an individual moves into the Contemplation Stage, they are willing to consider that they do have a problem but are ambivalent towards actual change.  At this point, they are open to exploring what change might look like and they begin to weigh pros and cons of change.  They may begin to entertain options for future change even though they have not made the commitment to pursue those options. 


It is at this point that the individual may be open to researching programs and facilities that could help them through their change.  It is unlikely that they would actually go visit a program because they are still on the fence about actually making a change.  For this reason, the healthcare virtual tour can be an extremely helpful tool.  The virtual tour can be introduced as a way to get comfortable with the actual surroundings and alleviate the fears of the unknown.  Change is often scariest because of the unknowns — by allowing the chance to “walk around and take a look”, the virtual tour can be an invaluable resource in breaking down the walls of resistance.


When moving from the Contemplation Stage to the Preparation Stage, the person’s focus shifts to thinking about the future and making strides towards implementing change in the near future.  The individual is ready to “test the waters “ and explore what change would actually look like.  Again, the healthcare virtual tour can be a non-threatening way to learn more about the program and begin a more pragmatic decision making process. 


The Action Stage is when the active work toward making the desired change actually begins.   The person has moved beyond commitment into action and is committed to making change.  This phase may move quickly or may be a more drawn out process, especially if the person is choosing a behavioral health program to help them with their change.  With so many programs offering “help”, how does an individual decide where to go for treatment?  The healthcare virtual tour is especially helpful when an individual is considering several different programs.  Rather than being sold by who has the fanciest website, the individual can have an apples to apples comparison of the programs and get a feel for where they would feel most at home.


For the friends and family members, this is a time of hope and concern.  The healthcare virtual tour can be shared with family members and friends who also are dealing with their own fear of the unknown.  There are so many stereotypes and inaccurate ideas of what a behavioral health program looks like and the healthcare virtual tour can alleviate the concerns and help justify the decision.


The last two phases of change are Maintenance Stage and potentially Relapse Stage.  An individual can only succeed in a program if they are able to stay on track and eventually implement the change over the long term.  Having clear expectations going into a program is helpful in getting someone to complete it.  Feeling “tricked” or “trapped” is somewhat normal but can be exacerbated if the program’s website and advertising were not honest representations of what the program really offers. Often people are brought into a program under false pretenses or outright false advertising and trust is broken from the beginning, making progress much more difficult.   


As virtual tour photographers who specialize in behavioral health virtual tours, it is our goal to showcase your facility in the best possible light while at the same time offering an accurate representation of your campus.  With interactive panoramic photographs, we provide people with an actual tour of the facility and a chance to really look around — not just a series of strategically shot photographs that only show part of the picture.   Our motto is that When Making Big Decisions, the Big Picture Makes a Big Difference.  


Vision Quest Virtual Tours provides 360º virtual tours to healthcare, hospitality and education.  Our speciality is behavioral health virtual tours and we have photographed programs in over 25 states.  We can offer great tours at a great price…without disturbing the therapeutic milieu of your program.  For more information, visit our website at or call us at 404-863-9769.