Care coordination in a post-EHR world: How CRM and mobile tools are enabling change


As the healthcare industry transitions to a value-based system, communication with patients before and after their encounters with a health system will become paramount.

Customer relationship management software provides that connection. In a recent webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, Damon Auer, vice president of healthcare at business application and cloud solution firm Tribridge, discussed the growing need for CRM tools and how they can benefit care providers.

"As the healthcare industry continues this shift to value-based payment models, provider organizations have made steps in coordinating care outside our own facilities ," Mr. Auer said. "As we transform into a health system instead of a healthcare system and put the patient at the center of our processes, leveraging EHR is a great first step but it's not going to take us all the way."

CRM software has strong potential to improve wellness management for patients, especially those with chronic diseases, Mr. Auer said. Chronic disease affects 133 million Americans, 45 percent of the total population. Seven of 10 deaths in the U.S. are due to chronic diseases, andthree-quarters of healthcare costs go to care for chronic conditions. Connecting those patients with chronic conditions to a more coordinated platform can produce better outcomes over time as their care is better managed.

Although the majority of healthcare providers have already adopted value-based payment systems, many are still "sitting on the sidelines," Mr. Auer said, referencing figures from KLAS research.

"I suspect a large portion of those 38 percent [not on a value-based model] of those will not exist six years from now," he said.

Tribridge's Health 360, a suite of CRM-powered solutions, offers a multi-faceted approach that enables providers to connect with their customers in a meaningful way, improving overall wellness management and helping provider organizations transition to a value-based model, Mr. Auer said.

CRM began as systems designed by pioneering software organizations to create customer-centered software solutions in the early part of the '90s. Compaines such as Microsoft have spent those two decades and tens of billions developing customer relations and customer service software that matters, Mr. Auer said. Tribridge, one of Microsoft's largest partners in the U.S., chose to build Health 360 on a Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform to leverage its history in customer relationship software development, he said.

"As this healthcare transformation continues, it would be silly for us to not look for best practices in customer engagement, customer service and practices from other industries that have spent billions of dollars trying to solve these programs. That's exactly what we at Tribridge have tried to do by implementing a Microsoft platform. What we cannot afford to do is engage [through extensive care coordination] if we cannot find a way to do so efficiently. It will become cost prohibitive and inefficient."

Healthcare is increasingly becoming consumer-oriented, and the industry is responding with new tools, he said. Population health requires effective engagement and ongoing, persistent collaboration with people at the individual level. Many primary care physicians now go to concierge medicine. Other items driving the consumerization of care include the immediate accessibility of healthcare information, the trend toward mobile access and the almost-constant connectivity to information, Mr. Auer said.

"All of this is driving our approach to the customers we care for in the healthcare provider industry," Mr. Auer said. "Patients are people first. Let's learn what we can about them as people and make best use of that information in the experience this person has with our health system."

Because providers need a solution that works as well for all its consumers as well as those with chronic conditions, the Health 360 solution has four components to addresscare coordination, customer experience, customer engagement and provider network management.

• Care Coordination: A powerful, intuitive platform for developing and managing personalized care programs streamlines the coordination of care and case management activities and helps providers target specific populations with tailored outreach and education programs.
• Customer Experience: Creates a structure to effectively measure and manage non-clinical elements (convenience, staff attitude, etc.) that today are closely tied to patient satisfaction scores, such as HCAHPS, and related incentive payments.
• Customer Engagement: A solution focused on patient acquisition and retention including marketing and sales applications, apps for customer service and support, healthcare portals and analytics which includes segmentation that enables providers to customize interactions and deliver a more personalized, self-service experience.
• Provider Network: A robust physician relationship management solution that improve business results by simplifying management of relationships with both affiliated and nonaffiliated physicians which also manages provider networks with greater efficiency, reducing costs, streamlining compliance and improving overall network satisfaction.

Mr. Auer compared the Care Manager to a quarterback who helps the provider manage an individual's care plan with all the relevant providers, therapies and family members who are involved in the patient's care.

As an example of the platform working in a real care environment, Jennifer Dunphy, RN, discussed an app from Get Real Health, a Rockville, Md.-based mobile health software company, which partners with Tribridge to deliver a care coordination platform. The app, called InstantPHR, works on mobile devices and draws data from a patient's various records and locations to provide caregivers with a snapshot of a patient's health profile, she said.

Ms. Dunphy said studies had shown that the customer engagement side of the platform had been successful, with users participating significantly in the self-reported data portion of the platform. A significant reason why the platform works is because it is providing patients with a clear value to their care, Mr. Auer said.

"For patients to be engaged, you have to provide them with value," he said.

To learn more, download the webinar presentation slides here. View the webinar by clicking here. We suggest you download the video to your computer before viewing to ensure better quality. If you have problems viewing the video, which is in Windows Media Video format, you can use a program like VLC media player, free for download here.

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