This is the final post in a series of four that discuss why hospitals and health systems must look beyond the Electronic Health Record (EHR) in order to cultivate richer patient engagement and boost patient loyalty, and how a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, when integrated with your EHR system, can help you interact and engage with your patients in more meaningful ways.
Read our first post that defines patient engagement and explains why it’s so important in fostering trust between a patient and his or her healthcare system. Our second post discusses why health systems need more than just an EHR to successfully engage their patients. The third post discusses how a CRM system can bridge the patient engagement gap.
Optimize the Monies Spent on Your EHR
Has your EHR system influenced your patients’ behavior in order to change their healthcare decisions? Can you measure the return on investment (ROI) that your EHR system has delivered? Can your EHR proactively drive patient engagement in a bi-directional conversation? Can your EHR educate and target any given patient on how he or she can proactively manage his or her health?
You probably answered no to most, if not all, of these questions, which means that you should consider extending your EHR by adding and integrating a CRM system that can…
- Engage your patient population by delivering the right information to them so they make the right healthcare decision at the right time
- Acquire, retain, and re-activate patients to spur targeted service line growth
- Develop and strengthen brand reputation
- Cultivate deeper relationships with patients, both current and prospective
- Improve the patient experience
- Measure ROI and attribute engagement efforts to clinical and financial outcomes
With the right CRM system, many hospitals and health systems can realize — and can calculate — a 12 to 18-month ROI on their CRM system alone, and help them extend the value of their EHR and start to recoup their EHR investment over the longer term.
While the most recent statistics report that 96 percent of hospitals use EHR technology to make better-informed treatment decisions based on a complete picture of patients’ medical histories, the fact remains: EHRs were designed as transaction-based systems of record, not engagement. With EHRs, hospitals and health systems are limited to information regarding a patient’s specific injuries and illnesses, without any real insight into the patient as an individual, insight that is vital to building relationships and promoting engagement.
Even though other industries have been using CRM systems with great success for decades, CRM systems are just beginning to take hold in the healthcare space. Instead, hospitals and health systems have been focused on clinical and operational improvement efforts, such as the implementations of their EHRs, which many healthcare executives thought were the “holy grail” and last major software investment their organization would make for years to come. This might have been true had it not been for recent market forces causing patient engagement to be nothing short of an imperative for the financial success of hospitals and health systems.
While many organizations are attempting to promote patient engagement by leveraging their EHRs using patient portals, this approach is not an adequate solution. Healthcare organizations must start to leverage and extend their EHRs with the implementation of CRM systems. Creating strong relationships with and supporting patients through timely, personalized communications and interactions from pre-care to post-care is crucial to engendering true patient engagement.