As the healthcare industry moves toward an increasingly personalized model of patient care, the technology used by healthcare providers isn’t always up to the task. Many providers are still relying on older, more impersonal patient-management tools, which isn’t great for their overall patient experience.
Thankfully, this tradition is changing. These outdated systems are being increasingly replaced by customer relationship management (CRM) software, a system originally designed to help salespeople and marketers build stronger relationships with their customers. The result? A new variation of CRM technology designed with patients (rather than customers) in mind. These CRMs can simultaneously help healthcare providers manage the daily needs of any healthcare office and dramatically improve the patient experience.
To understand why CRM for healthcare is so effective at improving the patient experience, it’s important to understand the core benefits of the technology. Let’s look at the five biggest ways CRM technology improves traditional data management systems in healthcare settings.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) software has completely transformed the healthcare industry, which allows clinical records to be easily shared between medical providers. EHR systems allow doctors to instantly access vital patient information (such as immunization histories, allergies, and detailed medical histories). But these systems also have limitations, as they were never designed to provide truly comprehensive and personalized patient data.
In this respect, CRMs can act as a supplemental resource to EHR platforms, which can provide healthcare professionals with even greater patient insights. Patient data that might not be suitable for EHR systems (such as non-medical family details, lifestyle information, and even notes about a patient’s work and hobbies) can now be more accessible, which allows for even more personalized care.
Providing great medical care is often a double-edged sword. While it can be the easy part of the job for many healthcare professionals, it’s also complex and tedious administrative work that most of these workers dread. All those seemingly simple, routine tasks (such as scheduling follow-up appointments, making referrals to specialists, and updating patients about their test results) drain time away from providing a high-quality patient experience.
Interestingly, these problems are exactly what CRM software was designed to solve. The same marketing-and-sales automation tools that allow sales teams to thrive in their communication-driven industry can be readily adapted to the healthcare field. Not only does this advantage increase overall office efficiency, it also provides much-needed analytics and insights for office managers looking to optimize operations.
Most healthcare providers rely on multiple software tools to manage their scheduling, patient communication, and other administrative needs. The less integrated these systems are, the more prone to human error they become. This trend can easily result in mixed-up appointment times, missed patient communications, and bills that are sent to the wrong addresses.
Left unchecked, these administrative errors can have a deeply negative impact on the patient experience. By uniting these various systems and workflows in a centralized CRM solution, these routine administrative activities can now be handled through a single platform. So there’s less human error and less time spent fixing clerical mistakes. The result? Happier patients and a more efficient office.
Being sick is scary, particularly for people with chronic conditions. When these patients (or their caregivers) have questions or concerns, it’s only natural for them to reach out to their healthcare providers for help. Unfortunately, these clinics and offices aren’t always set up to provide this kind of assistance in a timely and efficient manner.
As a result, patients and their caregivers can needlessly spend hours on the phone—or even in the waiting room—just to get an answer to a simple question. This scenario is another example of how CRM technology (in this case, customer support tools) can dramatically improve the patient experience. It’s entirely possible to provide a “help desk” experience for patient questions and offer educational materials (such as videos or online pamphlets) by using a CRM.
Patients can even use CRM-provided patient portals for secure email messaging for non-urgent questions. Many of these CRM tools are also available as mobile apps, which makes it that much easier for patients to access these resources.
In the hectic daily reality of healthcare, it’s not always possible to give a patient the focus and attention he or she deserves. It’s difficult for healthcare workers to remember every detail of a patient’s chart. However, it’s all too easy for patients to misunderstand this situation, which could result in them feeling like healthcare providers can’t be bothered to remember basic details about their lives. Unsurprisingly, this misunderstanding can have a very negative impact on the patient experience.
Fortunately, CRM software was designed to solve this kind of problem, too. After all, salespeople also have dozens of conversations every day, and it really helps to have a system that will manage those relationships. The CRM stores all that information in a concise way, which allows the user to instantly get up-to-speed on the essential details of anyone in the system. So it’s not hard to see the value of a tool like CRM in a healthcare setting. In fact, it allows doctors, nurses, and other staff members to create more engaging—and more fundamentally human—interactions with their patients.
To learn more about using CRM for healthcare settings, contact Faye for a free consultation.