How to boost the consumer experience with CRM technology — 3 tips for success

People's experiences and interactions with other industries — such as retail, banking and hospitality — are fueling a growing desire among individuals for a more personalized healthcare experience. Most other industries have used customer relationship management (CRM) technology for several years as a key tool to engage customers and provide top-notch experiences.

An enterprisewide CRM system can help connect information generated from consumer and patient interactions across a community over time, including care management, service operations, provider network and relationship management, marketing and initiatives such as clinical trials, volunteer services and foundation fundraising. This data helps facilitate enhanced consumer and provider engagement. A few key components that make the technology viable include:

  • A longitudinal record integrated into the solution to provide an organized, coherent view of aggregated, disparate data for each person. Disparate data can include clinical, claims, pharmacy and self-reported data. The longitudinal record enables organizations to make more-informed decisions and improve provider and patient engagement.
  • Omni-channel capabilities to interact with people via their preferred channel of engagement and frequency. The number of channels is expanding — video, virtual assistant and instant messaging. CRM enables the orchestration of communication across these channels and helps organizations engage consumers based on preference and convenience.
  • A closed-loop system that continually brings in new data to refine and better understand what approaches resonate most with the population, which helps care team members to optimize engagement strategies.

These features can help organizations manage specific populations, such as those at risk for developing a chronic condition. An outreach campaign to reach this population could be created to target those individuals who meet specific clinical and risk criteria. The targeted population could include people who may benefit from closing identified gaps in care, such as completing a breast cancer screening or an eye exam. 

A CRM system can also help improve provider performance measures that are critical to value-based reimbursement models. CRM can help the care team manage gaps in care through a person’s entire journey from identification and outreach to access and maintenance of engagement over time.

3 tips for implementing a successful CRM strategy

1. Develop a road map

It's best to start with a two- to four-year road map of the goals an organization wants its CRM strategy to address. Road map development is a multi-stakeholder effort. When thinking about the needed features, outline and prioritize what departments or programs would benefit most from a CRM program. Work with IT and other stakeholders to ensure the road map leverages the underlying data and infrastructure to reduce organizational and communication silos. 

Consider the need to orchestrate both outbound and inbound communications. Over-messaging, miscommunication and inconsistency are some of the possible unintended consequences of using CRM without orchestration and can result in disengaged consumers.

2. Consider staff training

With this technology, it is important to rethink employee work processes as they transition from a reactive approach to care to a proactive approach to health. Whether for scheduling and patient access, care management, provider relations, network management or patient financial services, the introduction of CRM capabilities will affect workflows. Being proactive with training can help improve productivity and facilitate automation, self-service and operational efficiencies. Simultaneously, the capabilities can help shift labor from high-volume, low-value interactions to high-value, more meaningful consumer and provider engagement.

3. Incorporate all data assets

CRM technologies require data and content. A critical aspect of any organization's strategy is understanding how to best leverage their data assets to ensure consistent master consumer and provider profiles across the enterprise. 

A disciplined governance process is needed for using and expanding this data as it relates to appropriate access and use of the data and internal controls. The design, development and execution of campaigns and journeys needs to become a core competency.

It's time to engage people as consumers

Although healthcare marketing departments have begun to adopt CRM technology, the industry at large remains a slow mover relative to others — ironic, given healthcare is one of the industries that could benefit the most. There is a significant opportunity for healthcare organizations to use CRM technology enterprisewide and integrate it with clinical technologies, financial services, scheduling and administrative functions. This approach is preferable to using it as a siloed tool limited to one department. A CRM system designed with all consumer touchpoints integrated and managed in a systemic manner can help support the entire clinical enterprise while helping to deliver consumers the experience they deserve.

More articles on consumerism:
Convenience, patient experience lead consumer criteria for selecting a provider: report
Facebook connects users to clinics for flu shots and other preventive services
3 key culture traits of consumer-centric hospitals

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