A health care practice’s customer relationship management (CRM) software is a key tool that enhances the patient experience. It’s designed to improve patient access across multiple channels—and streamline internal workflows—among many other benefits.
A modern, high-quality CRM system empowers physicians, nurses, support staff, and patients—and it can be the key to a health care practice’s success. There is a direct correlation between patient satisfaction and provider CRM systems. According to a survey by Accenture, a growing number of patients select a provider based on the provider’s digital service capabilities.
However, finding a good quality CRM system that delivers on patient expectations is actually just half the battle. In an era in which telehealth and digital services continue to experience higher demand, it is vital that any CRM also makes patients feel continuously valued.
Valuing the patient means more than just giving them the right diagnosis. The patient experience encompasses all aspects of their journey, from the time they first become aware of their condition to their last post-op appointment.
Enhancing the patient experience throughout is also essential to ensuring positive patient outcomes. Patients who have a good experience are more likely to trust your practice and comply with recommendations.
Health care practices should therefore go above and beyond to create modern, satisfying telehealth experiences. Here how:
Monitoring the key metrics
The first step to ensuring your CRM provides value is to identify key metrics that you can improve on. I can’t stress enough the importance of mapping metrics within your CRM system—it’s vital to optimizing the patient experience.
Given the influx of data that many providers must handle, some practices feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what information is important and how to quantify it. There are many metrics you can monitor, but these are the most important:
- Scheduling conversion rates: The patient experience begins long before they step foot into the consultation room. That’s why scheduling is an excellent place to start. Amid a physician and nurse shortage, increased strain on health care practices means delays are rife and appointments are harder to come by.
Measuring schedule conversion rates allows practices to gauge how easy it is for patients to arrange appointments. To calculate this metric, you divide the number of appointments made on your online scheduling platform by the number of actual visits. You can also measure conversion by dividing the number of calls that requested appointments by the actual number of appointments made.
- First contact resolution: Last year, 79 percent of patients said they were rerouted and connected to other departments when trying to arrange an appointment. This deeply irritates patients, who quickly grow tired of voicing their grievances to several different people on the phone. First contact resolution (FCR) refers to how many requests were resolved at the patient’s first point of contact. FCR is a major weak spot for many organizations, hence the 79 percent statistic.
To calculate your FCR, monitor the number of interactions a typical patient has with your practice. For example, an email, a phone call, a call back, and then an in-person appointment would amount to four interactions.
- Average resolution time: It’s well known in medical circles that a long wait time is negatively associated with patient satisfaction levels. That’s why average resolution time (ART) is such an important metric. The lower your ART is, the happier your patients are. To calculate your practice’s ART, divide the total time it took to resolve the patient queries by the number of patients seen within that time.
Putting metrics into action
Collecting these metrics gives practices a sense of the quality of their service. That said, mapping these metrics doesn’t mean the hard work is over—it has actually just begun.
The next step is to improve on these metrics. After you’ve collected the data, you need to use it to create positive changes.
You can improve your FCR by introducing more virtual appointments. If no-shows are an issue, you can implement automated appointment reminders via text and email.
To enhance your scheduling conversion rates, you can automate back-office tasks, which frees up staff to schedule more appointments.
Evaluate which changes are working, and which are not, by keeping an eye on your metrics. Ultimately, you’ll see the real results of your efforts in increased revenue.
An action plan to bring about such changes takes time. You’ll need to create a detailed structure and communicate proposed changes with staff members every step of the way. Hold regular team meetings to highlight changes, celebrate successes, and brainstorm about future modifications. Your efforts will not only improve the patient experience; they will also make your staff’s jobs easier.
A good CRM system helps identify and resolve pain points. The best CRM systems collect and organize key metrics, which you can then use to optimize your operations.
Investing in a CRM is a great first step. But in order to truly deliver value to your patients, you need to know how to use it. Mapping CRM metrics—then making informed decisions based on the data—makes everyone’s lives easier, including your patients.
Stephen Dean, healthcare CRM expert and co-founder of Keona Health.