By Jeff Nixon
For many healthcare professionals, the idea of using customer relationship management software (CRM) seems like an unnecessary expense. Other industries were also slow to recognize the benefits of CRM, but research firm Gartner now predicts the worldwide CRM market will reach $36.5 billion worldwide by 2017. Given the tool’s explosive market growth, it’s clear CRM offers benefits to more than a few industries, including healthcare. Here are a few ways that CRM can help a healthcare facility provide better patient care.
Every organization has a budget, and when it comes down to deciding what new equipment to purchase, CRM is invaluable. You can use CRM to analyze the demographics of your patients as well as the larger community to determine the likelihood of certain conditions. Knowing that a condition may be prevalent in the community can help you make the right decision so that the equipment you buy will have a high utilization rate. Patients receive better care with modern, up-to-date equipment, and your practice will be more profitable when having the right equipment in-house.
Healthcare is a competitive field, and you need to stay profitable to be able to treat patients. Marketing your practice or facility can help attract new patients. People who come to your facility for the first time may already be comfortable with your team because they have had the chance to develop a relationship through your CRM-enabled marketing efforts.
In addition to attracting patients, effective marketing will help with recruiting efforts. The best medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and others, can often have their pick of jobs. Your marketing efforts help get your organization’s name and reputation out to the people you most want to hire.
While clinical details of patient conditions in a CRM system can’t be stored, there is still a great deal of sensitive data about patients that you will want to be able to access.
CRM systems have strong security, often down to the detail of specific fields. You can prevent some people on your team from seeing specific data about patients — unless they have a legitimate need to know. Data can still be aggregated for analysis of your practice demographics, but without the risk of disclosing sensitive data inadvertently.
Healthcare data breaches are a growing concern. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that personal information from more than 50,000 people was hacked, stolen or otherwise breached in just the first two weeks of January 2016. Given that, you can’t afford to entrust your patients’ sensitive information to a less-secure system.
Many CRM solutions include document management, which can help educate patients on specific conditions. Document management makes it easy to find and manage documents without having to file and store paper documents. You can easily update them as new developments occur, and archive old versions to avoid giving out old information
You can easily maintain a library of brochures or data sheets on common conditions to use as handouts in the office, or print FAQs and care procedures for newly diagnosed patients. These documents also make excellent filler for patient or community newsletters, and the recipients will consider them to be valuable information from a caring healthcare provider.
A healthcare CRM system will easily manage traditional customer data such as mailing addresses and other contact information, but a CRM system can do so much more to improve operations. Every healthcare facility should consider utilizing CRM if they don’t already have a system in place.
Jeff Nixon is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Highland Solutions. Highland Solutions is a technology services provider. Jeff has a solid history of innovative leadership, continuous improvement, product development, managing leading-edge technology and delivering excellent products and services.