Customer relationship management (CRM) is frequently viewed as a sales-oriented tool most useful to organizations that spend a great deal of time and money on capturing a sale. However, some hospitals are finding that CRM is much more than just a sales tool.
CRM is actually a business tool that helps these hospitals connect to and serve their customers whether they’re patients, physicians, or other health care workers fully. The past health care model has been one of need. A patient is sick and needs a doctor, so he or she goes to the hospital. Or, a doctor or health care professional graduates from university and needs a job, so he or she chooses hospitals to apply to. Today, however, hospitals, like many enterprises, are struggling to stay competitive and gain their share of the market. That’s where these four ways that CRM makes sense for hospitals can help them gain a competitive edge.
CRM applications are designed to help organizations build better relationships with their customers. In the case of hospitals, the customer is the patient or a physician or some other health care worker who interacts with the hospital. The data about these customers provide precious insight into how the organization can create deeper relationships and engagement with those customers.
For example, demographic, psychographic, social, and behavioral data can be used to determine which patients are at risk for certain diseases. Clinical data can be used to improve communication among physicians about patient care. Data can also be used to entice high-profile physicians or health care workers to work at a specific hospital.
One of the true values of CRM is the way it can improve health care delivery. Consider the information gathered to illuminate high-risk groups. Those same data can be used to improve the quality of care members of those groups receive. Studies point to the effectiveness of early detection and treatment for many illnesses. The data a CRM application collects and analyzes enable hospitals to target those individuals and provide consistent touch points to ensure that they receive the care they need when diseases are most effectively treated. In turn, this targeting frees resources for the hospital to focus on community outreach and charity programs to improve the overall health of a community.
As with any sales relationship, one method of deepening the relationship is to connect with customers by using the right information delivered to them at the right time. CRM works well in a health care setting, automating communications to ensure that customers have the information they need at the time they need it. For example, studies have found that post-hospitalized patients who come to their follow-up appointments are less likely to be readmitted. CRM provides the automation necessary to remind these patients of their post-recovery care instructions, to send reminders of follow-up appoints, and to provide future preventative information.
The overarching benefit of CRM for health care is the insights the application can provide into not only patient and physician information but also into hospital information. It’s a truism for enterprises that the more transparent an organization, the better it operates. The same is true for hospitals. CRM provides the transparency that organizations need to serve customers better while keeping a clear vision of the bottom line and highlighting the efforts that improve that bottom line.