CRM in Healthcare: Helping Hospitals Save Time, Money, and Lives

What is CRM?

Customer relationship management (CRM) applications are technologies that assist organizations in the monitoring and management of customer interactions and records. CRM use can range from programs that measure and record all of a customer’s previous purchases or interactions with a business, to forecasting future purchases. The benefits of CRM applications within a business are obvious. Any system that gives organizations greater insight into their customers’ needs will lead to increased sales and better customer experiences.

How Does This Apply to Healthcare?

A common misconception concerning CRM is that the technologies are only applicable to sales or marketing organizations. This is an unfortunate misconception as CRM technologies can add tremendous value for any industry, including Healthcare.
We do not commonly think of patients as buying customers in the same way as a retail store might. However, CRM can do more than help hospital administrators cut costs and increase revenue. CRM can help hospitals improve patient and provider experiences, and increase the availability/visibility of healthcare coverage within a community.

Automating Patient Intake

One of the most prevalent complaints that healthcare providers voice, is the endless paperwork required in their practices. Doctors tell stories of days spent collecting patient information in long duplicate and even triplicate forms. Part of this is because of the necessary healthcare laws and regulations around managing patient information. But part of this also results from overlapping data and inefficient records management processes. Too often, healthcare providers find themselves asking for the same information, from the same patients, over and over again. The results are medical histories that are redundant and unhelpful.

Implementing CRM can drastically improve patient information input and storage. CRM can automate much of the patient data entry process, freeing up time for doctors and nurses to administer care. The same technology that records purchase information and consumer data for businesses, can now be used to record medical care history. CRM applications of today are infused with artificial intelligence to detect patterns and provide actionable insights for healthcare executives. This intelligence can facilitate everything from tracking a patient’s prescription drug interactions, to allowing clinics and hospitals to maintain communication with patients for follow-up appointments and procedural dates.

This is especially important in the case of emergencies. CRM can be the difference between emergency room staff haphazardly attempting to record a medical history in real-time, or staff calmly pulling up a patient’s records with a complete medical history including drug use and known allergies. CRM also enables providers to keep better track of their patient’s follow-up care and post-treatment information. Better follow-up leads to better patient care and less re-hospitalization. When follow-up care and communication are streamlined, patients are less likely to return with complications.

Improving Patient to Doctor Communication

An often overlooked aspect of healthcare is the communication between patients and their healthcare providers. Unfortunately, many providers believe that patient communication starts and ends in the examination room. But what about lab results, discharge instructions, follow-up appointments, appointment reminders, or diagnostic screens? Open and accessible communication between providers and patients is an ongoing process that allows patients to stay current with their conditions.

Implementing CRM can bring greater efficiency to your patient/physician communications. Using CRM, your clinic or hospital can facilitate open communication between your patients and your providers. Patient portal sites give patients the ability to be proactive about their care, granting them the means to communicate with their providers directly. Understanding your patient’s needs and concerns not only leads to better care, but it also gives your organization the word of mouth praise that marketers crave.

Improving Your Organization’s Billing

In an ever-changing healthcare climate, hospitals can face significant difficulties in collecting their bills. Medical billing is often a nightmare. A myriad of different situations cause healthcare providers to lose out on bills. Anything from improperly vetted insurance, to unapproved procedures, can overwhelm billing offices. It is difficult for medical receptionists and office staff, to be responsible for both coordinating appointments and care, and ensuring proper billing procedures. It is in these situations that CRM solutions can make a difference.

CRM helps your organization by automating much of the billing procedures and policies within a provider’s office. Administrators using CRM automatically keep track of their patient’s insurance information and order histories. Once patients are entered into a system, any changes in billing or insurance information would be updated automatically. And CRM will enable insurance vetting to be performed much more quickly than traditional methods of calling and checking. By automating payments and insurer information, CRM systems complete much of the labor normally given to administrators and physicians. Administrators can then easily record a patient’s billing information, insurance information, schedules, and payment methods within a single location through the use of CRM.

Saving Lives and Money

Hospitals and clinics can make great strides towards improving both their patient care and overall administration by using CRM. If staff are not trained to handle CRM effectively or if IT resources are unavailable, hospitals can leverage CRM consultants. Consultants are an excellent way for hospitals to implement CRM solutions without burdening their current IT staff. CRM consultants offer specialized resources to support requirements gathering, implementation, deployment, and training on a CRM platform. All while maintaining the required best practices and information needed to properly leverage these solutions.

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