On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your comfort level with using EHR as part of your clinic operations?
Since 2020, 89 percent of US hospitals have implemented inpatient or ambulatory EHR systems with positive results. Experts point out that electronic health records have built-in templates for better recordkeeping, auto coding for faster billing, inventory management, e-prescribing capabilities, even body mapping to better pinpoint treatment areas. What’s not to love?
But with all of this technology at your fingertips, why haven’t you seen an increase in patients? To answer that question, let’s examine what EHR technology is and isn’t, and how combining CRM capabilities with EHR creates a solid foundation to better connect with patients and improve patient care.
What does EHR do for your practice?
Did you know paper patient charts turn up missing in 30 percent of visits? And 80 percent of all serious medical errors result from miscommunication during care transitions? It’s no wonder healthcare providers are transitioning to digital medical records.
Digitized patient records create more accurate, secure, reliable, and accessible patient information. Historically, the purpose of creating a digital medical record was to simplify the billing process by capturing data at the point of care.
Forwarding patient information in ways that once kept office fax machines buzzing can now be shared among provider networks, pharmacies, labs, clinics, and other physicians within minutes. But something is missing from this process–the patient. Electronic health records (EHR) don’t connect directly with marketing applications and phone systems. So while they work great for interconnecting healthcare providers and health services, they aren’t designed to engage with your great asset, the customer.
And that’s where CRM can ensure patient-centered care by providing seamless, personalized service.
How can CRM lay the foundation for a better provider/patient experience?
Customer relationship management tools are essential for helping healthcare organizations connect with their target audience and retain loyal customers with patient-centered care. While EMR houses valuable data, providers can use CRM technology to leverage stored data and analyze what drives behavior change and identify assets.
“It can also be used to improve the patient experience by incorporating prescriptive analytics to tell healthcare providers what the next best step for the individual, as well as social determinants of health data,” explains Nathan Eddy, a health tech expert.
Data is organized to provide a comprehensive view of a patient’s healthcare journey. Designed to create personalized communication with patients, CRM tools break down barriers by tracking stages in care and preferences in patient outreach while optimizing cost-saving strategies.
Here’s an example: Statistics show that missed appointments and inconsistent scheduling cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $150 billion a year. How can using a CRM system reduce those expenses?
Let’s say the office manager makes a note on a patient’s EMR that he or she has a history of missed scheduled appointments. With a phone call, the office discovers the patient no longer has transportation. By adding this data to the CRM system, the medical staff can reach out to the patient with options. Do they need to arrange transportation in preparation for the patient’s scheduled appointment? Is the patient a candidate for a virtual visit or a wearable medical device? Addressing a patient’s pain points by offering solutions is a pivotal step in providing customer-based care.
“When trusted relationships are built between patients and the health organization, patients are more likely to come back to their facility of choice for other services and even share their positive experiences with friends and family,” says Rob Grant, a health tech CRM expert.
How will CRM impact the future of healthcare?
Marketing strategies are only effective when you understand your customers. And in today’s healthcare industry, your patients need to be seen as valued customers, who desire a trusting relationship with their healthcare providers.
Implementing CRM into your healthcare workflow allows your team to reach out to patients with appointment reminders, medication schedules, or useful medical information in between visits using email, phone, or text message. More importantly, it provides the resources to track your patient’s healthcare journey while creating an overall view of your practice and customer base on which to base future business goals.
Electronic health records are good at opening up new pathways for healthcare. By adding a customer relationship management system, you position your practice to deliver effective, caring personalized services that make your patients feel valued while preparing exciting growth opportunities for you.