The healthcare industry is in the midst of a transformation. As health systems and hospitals struggle to drive down costs and compete in an increasingly consumer-led landscape, they must remain nimble in the face of such change.
The challenges of this new era of healthcare are many: the switch from volume- to value-based care, consumerism, and physician alignment, to name a few. Add to that complexity the fact that global healthcare costs – currently estimated at $6 to $7 trillion – are predicted to more than double over the next seven years.
The fact of the matter is that healthcare organizations must proactively address these challenges – or risk losing patients and physicians, and, ultimately, revenue, to the competition.
Enter the CRM system.
A healthcare CRM system helps hospital networks aggregate and analyze data from many different sources in order to effectively drive engagement with patients and physicians.
Let’s take a look at a few of the ways a CRM system helps with today’s healthcare challenges:
1. The Shift Toward Value-Based Care
In a fee-for-service model, hospitals and health systems were reimbursed based on the number of services and procedures that they provided. So, they were, in a sense, incentivized to perform more procedures and they wanted patients to come in more frequently because volume of procedures was their main revenue driver.
Many times, these procedures were simply unnecessary, creating enormous waste in the healthcare system. However, hospitals had a predictable revenue stream based on the number of procedures they had each month, year, etc.
Today, on the other hand, they are being incentivized to stop doing these unnecessary procedures. But these incentives don’t make up for what hospitals would have gotten in revenue from performing such expensive procedures.
So hospitals are unsure of what to do. Their patients aren’t coming in as often, and, to make matters worse, many people are going to outpatient centers for similar procedures.
This is where the healthcare CRM system comes into play.
Patients have to go somewhere when they need medical attention and a CRM system can help hospitals and health systems differentiate themselves through targeted outreach to specific patient populations. A CRM system helps identify patients who will need services at some point in the future.
For example, a health system might identify patients who are most likely to need bariatric surgery at some point using Evariant’s data and predictive models. Marketers can then target their outreach to this specific patient population, meaning that, when bariatric patients need to have the procedure, they’ll choose that health system in particular.
2. The Rise of Consumerism
In today’s shifting consumer landscape, having a strong brand is more important than ever. In the past, hospitals and health systems assumed that, if they provided high-quality care, that would be enough to keep patients coming back.
But that’s no longer the case. Now, the patient healthcare journey starts long before patients enter a hospital and continues way after they’ve left, so there’s a greater need to appeal to that patient over the course of their entire lifecycle – not just the time when they’re in the hospital.
As a result, hospitals need to focus more on the non-clinical side of healthcare (customer service, overall patient experience) – and that’s a deep shift.
A healthcare CRM system can help with this by aggregating different media channels into one central location, enabling hospital marketers to make sure their brand messaging is consistent, and tailor communications to the right patient on the right channel at the right time.
All of this goes a long way in boosting a hospital’s reputation and brand strength. More specifically, the way in which hospitals communicate with patients has a significant impact on patient satisfaction and their overall experience in the hospital.
3. The Need for Physician Alignment
A healthcare CRM system has two goals: attracting patients and keeping patients. The idea is, in other words, to make sure that the patients who a hospital has brought in-network stay in-network. A huge part of why they do stay in-network is because of appropriate referrals (i.e., making sure that the doctors they see are referring other doctors in-network).
Given the current physician shortage and how much revenue certain physicians can bring in, it’s critical, now more than ever, for hospitals to make sure that the physicians they have are loyal and aligned with their health system.
Some physicians are world-renowned and very accomplished, and can take their pick of where they work. So, if a hospital or a health system is in a competitive market, it will want to have the best physicians ongoing, not only because these physicians will provide the best care for patients, but also because having that kind of physician will give the hospital added brand recognition.
A healthcare CRM system helps by providing the right kind of tools to analyze and understand physicians, their habits, their referral patterns, the types of care they provide, who they provide care to, etc. Based on that understanding, hospitals can better attract, communicate with, and align physicians, drive referral volume, and increase in-network activity.
With the healthcare industry in a state of flux, proactive healthcare organizations are finding ways to attract and retain both patients and physicians. Hospitals and health systems must adapt to the shifting healthcare landscape and address the inherent challenges – the move to value-based care, increased consumerism, physician alignment, etc. – head-on.
With a CRM system in place, healthcare organizations can consolidate and analyze relevant data for comprehensive insight into patient and physician habits and activities, allowing them to recoup, protect, and drive revenue through richer patient engagement and tighter physician alignment.