Remember the last time you had a sore throat that went on for weeks on end without any real improvement? Or what about when you twisted your ankle playing racket ball and woke up the next morning with painful swelling and bruising?
Chances are, before calling your doctor, you went to Google and typed in your symptoms to see what you were dealing with. If so, you’re not alone: Pew Research Center data shows three-quarters of all health inquiries begin at a search engine. The most commonly researched topics, according to the data, are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors or other health professionals.
In today’s digital world, consumers are looking for health information – and it’s up to healthcare organizations to provide it.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Healthcare organizations swim in consumer data, but what’s often missing is the ability to integrate and apply data in a meaningful way. Data is disparate and can be difficult to analyze, which makes gaining insights challenging.
Enter the healthcare customer relationship management (CRM) solution, a robust platform based on a centralized healthcare data hub, communications, and analytics engine.
Let’s take a look at a few of the ways a healthcare CRM helps consumers become actively engaged patients committed to working with their physicians to stay healthy:
Targeted, Relevant & Accurate Messaging
It isn’t just health systems that are swimming in data – consumers have such a wealth of healthcare information at their fingertips (literally) that it can be overwhelming to even think about where to begin. But, with one in every 20 searches on Google about health information, healthcare organizations have a responsibility to provide consumers with relevant, accurate information.
The implications of this are massive: Armed with the right kind of information, consumers can become empowered patients who take a proactive approach to their health by making informed and educated decisions.
Inaccurate information, however, can result in disaster. And, with the healthcare industry already seeing millions of misdiagnoses a year, we simply cannot afford to take any additional risk with regard to population health.
One of the primary benefits of healthcare CRM technology is its ability to segment out-patient information (demographic, psychographic, social, behavioral, etc.) to ensure the right message reaches the right patient at the right time. By building, launching, optimizing, and measuring multichannel marketing campaigns, healthcare organizations can understand more about patient behavior and target ongoing messaging accordingly.
The end result is stronger relationships with patients that continue throughout the patient lifecycle, from the first office visit throughout the entire care continuum.
Data Integrated Across Disparate Sources
Consumer marketing data is only one piece of the puzzle, however.
Healthcare organizations also need to be able to integrate data from patient-facing divisions across the enterprise (i.e., marketing, contact center, etc.), as well as other sources of patient information (EHRs, health surveys, administrative data, physician notes, etc.).
But simply having access to the data is not enough. “To be effective,” notes a Healthcare IT News article, “a centralized data repository must be built on a relational database that is capable of pulling information from multiple disparate systems, then quickly and easily integrating, sorting, and analyzing the data.”
With CRM technology in place, health systems can develop a 360-degree view of the patient that encompasses the entire patient lifecycle (patient’s condition, medical history, prior treatment, etc.). Developing a full and complete picture of the patient journey allows organizations to provide truly patient-centric care and drive patient engagement over the long term.
Precise, Continuous Learning
No industry is experiencing as much growth and transformation as the healthcare industry. Health spending is, in fact, projected to grow at an average rate of 5.7 percent through the year 2023, at which point the number of uninsured Americans is expected to decline from 45 million (in 2012) to 23 million people.
As this $2.8 trillion dollar industry continues to evolve, the focus will become even more patient-centric, forcing health systems to adapt and perform in a new world of healthcare. What this means is there will be a strategic imperative to fully understand patient markets to create richer engagement with patients.
This is where CRM’s analytics capability comes into play.
Beyond integrating and applying data to improve patient care in the near term, healthcare organizations can also leverage CRM software to drive patient engagement in the future. In that sense, CRM functions as a forecaster of patient needs, delivering precise, continuous learning that helps health systems make informed strategic decisions about patients based on predictive insights and advanced analytics.
Today’s competitive healthcare landscape demands that health systems prioritize patient-centric care. With 32 million newly insured Americans already entering the healthcare system as a result of the Affordable Care Act, success (or failure) in the years to come will be built on organizations’ ability to establish strong relationships with patients and foster engagement over the long term.