In the present setting of hyper-competitive environment, the survival of any business hinges on its ability to handle the competition while keeping track of the latest technological trends relevant to its operations and utilizing them effectively with the aim of becoming a profitable venture. As such, the healthcare industry is not insulated from the changing trends. Healthcare firms work on the principle of providing better customer services. This depends on how they manage the relationship with their customers, i.e. the patients in order to build trust and facilitate greater patient involvement in decision making.
Healthcare CRM, which can also be referred to as Patient Relationship Management (PRM) helps set the focus of healthcare organizations on meeting patients’ needs. Like other business organizations, healthcare firms too can utilize CRM technology to focus on relationship management, while offering more tangible benefits.
The best example of this is with regard to time, where a seamless integration and updating of patient’s electronic health records can help avoid long check-ups at the beginning of each visit. Healthcare CRM helps in improving the quality of care, lowering the costs and effective utilization of patient information, helping healthcare providers to sustain their business in a competitive environment.
Before elaborating on the advantages of using CRM system in healthcare industry, let us have a look at some of the current trends in the healthcare market. Like every other business, hospitals too are engaged in fierce competition with one another in order to gain a bigger portion of the consumer pie. The main expectations of the patients are quality service at a time of their choosing and the safeguarding of their privacy rights by the hospitals and other healthcare establishments.
People are becoming more aware of the various treatment options available and at the same time less loyal to their current healthcare providers. They are more likely to take second opinions and switch providers in case of unsatisfactory service. In order to cope up with such developments, hospitals are resorting to target marketing by developing customer outreach databases and moving away from mass advertising.
So how does customer relationship management in healthcare help in building strong relationships with the patients? Usually, whenever we are suffering from an ailment and need quick relief, we end up googling our symptoms in order to self-diagnose our condition. In fact, research data indicates that three-quarters of all the health queries begin at a search engine. In today’s digital world, the onus is on the healthcare organizations to provide the health information that consumers are looking for. The challenge that they face is to integrate, analyze and apply disparate data in order to gain meaningful insights related to customer service. This is where a healthcare CRM solution, which is a platform based on centralized healthcare data hub and communications and analytics can help convert passive customers into actively engaged consumers working in partnership with healthcare professionals to stay healthy.
PRM can help manage the relations between patients, physicians, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies etc. Some common means of communication which are used are: Reminders for appointments with doctors, missed medication alerts, health tips, educating the patients, event reminders regarding health camps, wellness lectures etc., branding awareness in order to communicate the noteworthy achievements of hospitals to patients and knowledge management in form of blogs and in social media. The key areas where CRM can benefit healthcare industry are:
Targeted, Accurate and Relevant Messaging
The primary benefit of healthcare CRM technology is its ability to segment patient information based on various factors such as demographic, psychographic, social, behavioral etc. to ensure the right information is given to the right patient at the right time. This is made possible by optimizing and measuring the multichannel marketing campaigns through which healthcare firms can better understand patient behavior and target them accordingly. The right kind of information made available can empower patients and enable them in proactive, informed decision-making.
Healthcare organizations must have a centralized data repository to integrate data from multiple touch points, for example, contact centers, marketing, electronic medical records, health surveys, administrative data, clinical notes etc. With the help of CRM a complete overview of any patient encompassing the entire patient lifecycle can be developed. This allows firms to deliver patient-centric care and enhance patient engagement.
Precise, continuous learning
CRM in Healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. This means that the healthcare firms are forced to constantly reorient themselves to the changing technology. A robust healthcare CRM system enables firms to forecast patient needs and involve in continuous learning to make informed strategic decisions and drive the patient engagement in the future.
The reasons for deploying CRM in hospitals are manifold. Today’s patients have more choices than ever regarding the choice of hospital for specialty care and treatment of serious illnesses. Large scale marketing campaigns are required to create awareness amongst the constantly shifting local populations. To support such marketing strategies, access to big data sources is becoming a necessary component of CRM in hospitals. Hospitals also need to involve themselves in B2P (Business to Physician) relationships to market to key physicians and maintain strong relationships with them. These can be supported by CRM and marketing automation systems. One particular area in which CRM technology is being implemented is in the selling of specific programs like weight loss, smoking cessation etc.
The key elements of implementation of CRM in hospitals are:
- Collection of patient data and other details such as the frequency of patient visits, the consulting doctor, their medical history, discharges etc from across the enterprise and maintaining a master file.
- Analyzing the data and identifying potentially profitable patients and finding the best medium to communicate with them.
- Developing suitable marketing campaigns for the profitable customers.
- Tracking the effectiveness and Return on Investment (ROI) from these campaigns.
The implementation of CRM in hospitals consists of two aspects: In Patient CRM and Out Patient CRM.
- In Patient CRM consists of those activities when a person gets treatment in the hospital and availing the facilities of the hospitals. The focus of every employee should be to ensure patient satisfaction. This can be achieved by proper training and clear instructions to avoid any hassles.
- Out Patient CRM consists of those activities after a patient is discharged from the hospitals, which help in maintaining and strengthening the relationship with patients. These include maintaining a computerized database of every patient with all the relevant information such as medical history, scheduled appointments, frequency of visits etc. This enables a hospital to send reminders to patients about their appointments and seek confirmation.
- The patients can arrange for rehabilitation centers for patients discharged suffering from chronic ailments. These measures help the hospital understand the disease profile of patients and the geographical areas from where they come.
Customer relationship management in healthcare is all about the use of technology to provide value added services to its patients and creating customer delight and improving customer loyalty. There is a need of pre planning and executive support to address the human aspects of implementation. For successful implementation, special CRM software and cloud-based CRM systems can be very helpful to disseminate the valuable information and needless data.