'Beyond marketing': 3 things to know about the next generation of healthcare CRM

With the rise of population health management and consumer-driven healthcare, health systems are looking for ways to engage large swaths of patient populations in a cost-efficient manner. To achieve this goal, healthcare leaders are seeing value in maximizing their organization's healthcare customer relationship management (HCRM) solution.

While CRM has traditionally been used to bolster marketing endeavors, the data-driven technology has the potential to expand its reach in the modern healthcare environment.

During an Aug. 1 webinar sponsored by Evariant and hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, Gary Druckenmiller Jr., Vice President, Marketing Practice Lead at Evariant — a Connecticut-based software company providing healthcare CRM solutions — and Brian O'Connor, Vice  President, Enterprise Technology at Evariant, discussed leveraging HCRM platforms for patient engagement and retention, while also using the solution to catalyze population health management.

Here are three key takeaways from the discussion.

Beyond Marketing

Early in the discussion, Gary described the "perfect" customer experience as never truly being perfect, but rather an active and ongoing pursuit.

"A big part of that pursuit is this directional fortitude of taking HCRM beyond marketing," said Gary. "CRM has been locked in the marketing department for a long time. Some have broken it away and are using it for pop health analytics and some other mechanisms … but continuously across the chasm of the patient journey, CRM has basically been isolated within the marketing department and we're saying 'bust that mold.' HCRM does not want to be confined to marketing."

However, before leveraging HCRM technology for population health management, leaders should thoroughly study and collect data on patient experience. Gary suggested "disruptive" companies outside of healthcare such as Amazon, Apple and Uber didn't disrupt their respective industries with the introduction of technology, but rather by filling troubling gaps in the customer experience.

In healthcare, the experience of consumers can often fall short when it comes to engagement. Many health systems do not consistently and regularly follow up with each patient. While the logistics of this type of consistent remote interaction have been challenging for the healthcare industry in the past, Gary argued modern technologies like HCRM can bridge this gap in the customer experience. Once the experience is understood, health systems can decide where improvements are needed and what types of technology are best suited to do so. 

"When the patient comes in and is in their clinical state … there is a whole series of messages that should be sent, including follow-up surveys, text programs, family reminders and follow-ups … a discharge text program and maybe an assessment from the call center at the end," said Gary. 

He went on to give a real-world example of how one Evariant client is applying their understanding of the customer journey with specific service lines, as well as the system, to strategically reach micro pop health environments by bringing together the right supporting technologies: HCRM, content management, marketing automation, and engagement center (call center).

Technology and Population Health

During the webinar, Brian reiterated the importance developing a roadmap prior to implementing new technologies. Healthcare leaders must know what problems their organizations face before coming up with solutions.

"Technology is the means to facilitate the journeys and workflow that you design as an organization," said Brian.

HCRM solutions can seamlessly integrate with and support population health solutions. The HCRM solution houses a wealth of data, matching disparate data sources to generate predictive analytics that can indicate clinical propensities and other real-time patient population insights. The HCRM dataset includes information on demographics, provider encounters and claims, among other information. This data can be leveraged to improve patient engagement, which can subsequently trigger improvements to population health management.

"As data comes in, you can identify people who are new, have had their deductibles satisfied, you can check to see if individuals are patient portal users and encourage them activate it at the next visit or appointment," said Brian, during the discussion. "One scenario we see over and over today, is to identify individuals making an emergency department appointment and then checking to see if they have a primary care physician assigned. If not, we place them into a personalized journey to offer assistance in assigning a new primary care physician." 

A robust HCRM solution centralizes a health system's data and analytics in a single location. It should be secure, HIPPA compliant and user friendly. The solution should also integrate real-time reporting with internal and external hospital systems. When integrating this solution with the engagement center — the hub of patient outreach and population health — health systems can significantly improve their outreach and engagement capabilities.

The Next Generation of CRM is Here

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, major reforms are likely. This shifting ground means traditional CRM will no longer be able to keep pace with changing market environment. Luckily, with the arrival of next-generation CRM for healthcare, health systems can outpace these changes in relatively short order.

"This is not a five- or six-year outlook," Gary explained. "That's a waste of time for everybody. We're trying to put ideas and concepts in front of you that you can execute on in the next two years."

To view the webinar, click here.

To view past webinars, click here.

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