Arming the Marketer: Partnering with the Engagement Center

This is the first post in a series that discusses ways in which healthcare marketers can drive success in today’s evolving healthcare landscape. Stay tuned for upcoming posts that cover lead nurturing, dashboards and metrics, and budget conversations.

Healthcare Engagement CenterToday’s healthcare marketers face near-constant change in an industry that brings both challenges and opportunities.

And it’s no wonder: With the rise of consumerism, patient-centric care, and personalization, the healthcare marketer must leverage all the tools in his or her arsenal to get in front of patients, drive referrals, and increase patient volumes.

Enter the engagement center.

With consumers and patients expecting exceptional experiences with healthcare systems, marketers must find ways to bring the call center and marketing together to attract, retain, and improve relationships with patients.

Traditional call centers often operate within departmental silos, inhibiting patient and physician engagement. An engagement center, on the other hand, taps into opportunities to deliver more personalized forms of communication, promoting proactive population health management across the care continuum.

Let’s learn more about the engagement center and explore the ways it can help drive healthcare marketing success:

Patient Engagement

In order to fully explore the relationship between the engagement center and patient engagement, we need to look back at how the traditional call center has functioned over the past 10 – 20 years. Historically, healthcare call centers have been response-based departments, meaning they haven’t served a marketing function.

These traditional call centers have been measured by how fast they can get people off the phone, how many calls they can take in a day, and the speed at which they handle calls – all of which hasn’t allowed people to communicate, which is a significant problem in healthcare.

The long and the short of it is this: Healthcare call centers, up until now, have never been proactive. There’s never been a legitimate engagement center functioning as both a proactive outreach mechanism and a response-based center.

The next generation of the engagement center is proactive, where hospitals and healthcare organizations are tapping into CRM data that shows behavioral and historical information, helping to develop an understanding of the overall patient experience.

The end result?

Health systems that foster a connection with patients and consumers and ultimately drive proactive health. Instead of simply responding to patient inquiries and follow-up reminders for care, these healthcare organizations leverage CRM-level data to personalize the patient experience not just during a single encounter but throughout the entire continuum of care.

Engagement Center + CRM = Better Health Outcomes

Today’s engagement center can’t, on its own, lead to improved patient outcomes. In order to drive patient engagement and proactive health over the long term, the engagement center relies on the CRM data within it, as mentioned above.

In particular, the engagement center needs the CRM tool to send up behavioral data in real time so that it can manage queues and proactive response based upon a call that might be coming in from an existing patient. It requires the CRM tool to deliver data about that patient so that it can establish an immediate connection and dialogue that’s personal.

On the other hand, the CRM tool requires the downstream behavioral data coming from the engagement center, so it tracks all of that behavior just like it tracks digital media and offline activities, clickstream analysis, etc.

The point is that the engagement center and the CRM must work in tandem to drive better health outcomes for patients.

Let’s look at a real-life example of how this might work:

Jane Doe is on a health system microsite and downloads a guide on orthopedics, an indication that something is wrong with her or a family member. She also attends a webinar on orthopedics, showing a trend of significant interest. 

The engagement center has a trigger that is looking for a certain pattern of analysis within the CRM. As a result of this trigger, an engagement center rep follows up with a phone call to Jane Doe, assuming a certain number of these activities are hit within a certain sequence.

This is a classic example of an engagement center rep requiring a CRM in order to trigger proactive outreach based on a collection of activity and behavior that’s been taken.

This applies not only to the marketing side but also on the operations side. In other words, Jane Doe may have set an appointment with an orthopedic specialist based on the proactive outreach from the engagement center rep – but the operations side steps in for a routine follow-up after the appointment, etc.

The basic idea is that the CRM and engagement center are continually working in tandem throughout the entire patient experience to improve the quality of care provided to the patient.

Final Thoughts

In today’s increasingly complex healthcare landscape, successful healthcare organizations are finding ways drive patient engagement and provide exceptional patient experiences. These health systems are taking a more proactive approach to engagement and transforming yesterday’s call center into tomorrow’s engagement center.

This engagement center combines patient interactions with CRM-level data to establish deeper connections with patients, deliver more personalized forms of communication, and promote proactive health across the entire continuum of care.

Transforming Healthcare Call Center into Engagement Center

Gary Druckenmiller

Gary Druckenmiller

Gary Druckenmiller, Jr. is Vice President, Marketing Practice Lead at Evariant. He functions as lead strategist, digital marketing thought leader and C-level executive sponsor for all of Evariant’s enterprise clients, primarily focused on advising health system leadership of opportunistic methods to improve their digital presence and interactive growth potential. Prior to Evariant, Gary served as Vice-President for Harte-Hanks, responsible for healthcare digital strategy and deliverables including multi-channel campaigns, paid digital media, social media, CRM and analytics. Gary has been with Evariant for 8 years and can be heard often on the hospital marketing speaking circuit. Gary has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Bentley University.
Gary Druckenmiller