This is the final post in our three-part series on transforming yesterday’s call center into tomorrow’s engagement center. Be sure to read out first post introducing the problem with traditional hospital call centers and our second post exploring the contact center model that has emerged in several leading health systems in response to trends in the market and greater consumerism around healthcare purchasing.
The key goals of patient and consumer engagement include delivering better- quality, more-timely care, reducing overall costs of care, and ultimately improving health outcomes for individuals and populations—The Triple Aim. This is true across a variety of scenarios, from acute and ambulatory care and follow-up to chronic condition management to population-level maintenance of health and wellness.
With today’s patients and consumers expecting more from their providers, health systems have an opportunity to do even more to drive high-impact engagement beyond just modernizing call centers with CRM technologies and driving proactive communications.
Through tools and tactics such as patient- and provider-specific portals, strong social media presence, various mobile applications centered around patient needs, live chat, and telehealth technologies, to name a few, health systems can better know, connect to, interact with, educate, and even empower their patients to behave in ways that benefit all involved.
For example, when patients log their progress data via personal health apps or online forms, the CRM system automatically generates alerts to patients or providers when warranted, thus spurring further constructive dialog regarding clinical implications, as well as personalized next steps to optimize care.
Utilizing a broad set of strategic engagement tools coupled with marketing tactics, providers can create ongoing, personalized relationships that lead patients to become more active participants in their own health care, make better- informed decisions based on the information they receive, and ultimately be comfortable in choosing the health system over and over.
The measure of success is individuals recommending the health system to their friends, family, and social network. As such, health systems should seek to weave “engagement” into every aspect of what the heath system does—online and off.
The shift to proactive population health management (PHM)—which seeks to keep the community healthy and provide health information to both those who need care as well as those who are healthy—is a shift toward prevention and community-wide wellness. Sharing pertinent information with current and prospective patients to assist them in their health care decisions is vital to improved outcomes, as well as reimbursement in the future.
A recent study found that 70% of healthcare costs are driven by the choices consumers make, so it is in the health system’s best interest to ensure patients and consumers make informed decisions.
Tapping Into The Opportunities
Health systems have multiple opportunities to apply these engagement center concepts towards proactive population health management initiatives. To maximize these opportunities, leadership should explore a range of options, such as:
- What utilities or care-specific educational materials can be made available to help patients follow a care process unique to their situation?
- What mobile apps or other mechanisms can be provided to enable patients/consumers to securely journal and track activities and health metrics relative to their condition, to support improved care and better outcomes?
- What proactive interventions or intelligent alerts triggered in response to patient-reported data can be provided, thus helping to reduce adverse effects and avoidable costs in the delivery of care?
- What links, lists, reminders, notifications, or instructions can be delivered “anywhere, anytime” to drive deeper understanding of medical conditions and motivate positive behavior and a sense of trust in the health system—designed to both improve brand “stickiness” and strengthen patient relationships?
- How can patients securely engage “on-demand” with providers, care teams, or medical homes to support positive outcomes and engender feelings of partnership with the health system?
Tapping into such engagement opportunities to deliver proactive, relevant, and personalized content via multiple channels is a critical part of PHM. Healthcare providers must connect with target groups of individuals across the risk spectrum and deliver meaningful, consistent messages through email, social, web, and call center channels to produce the level and quality of customer experiences needed to drive engagement and loyalty.
Doing so supports improved outcomes and encourages better adherence to care pathways by reinforcing patients’ personalized care plans, thus extending the providers’ reach beyond just the clinical setting.
One large academic institution is now pioneering the future of their health system’s interactions with patients and consumers by implementing several of these engagement center concepts, many as enhancements to an established CRM-based contact center. Through a single integrated platform, this hub supports inbound and outbound calls and multiple digital channels—web, mobile, social, and live chat—and drives coordinated, holistic patient experiences that increase utilization and loyalty.
Developed to support a business strategy targeting advanced medicine for rare and complex conditions, and a precision marketing strategy to efficiently reach narrowly-targeted audiences, this enterprise solution is possible only due to an advanced data- and analytics-driven CRM foundation, with a mind set and technology shift focused on improving the consumer experience and clinical outcomes. In essence, the CRM-based engagement center strategically builds loyalty, while the contact center delivers vital closed-loop communications tactics.
This multi-faceted solution positions the health system to enhance clinical care as well as customer acquisition and retention, reinforcing the institution’s strategy of delivering proactive care through instant access to timely and relevant information for patients.
As a closed-loop solution, this trend-setting engagement center better prepares clinicians to identify key factors in clinical outcomes on the population level, and thereby demonstrate value-based or accountable care to all.
And, greater visibility into patients’ and consumers’ engagement patterns positions strategic planners and marketers to better forecast demand, and based on utilization dynamics, identify the most effective marketing tactics by medical condition or service line and attribute revenues to specific marketing campaigns and tactics.