MedCity Influencers, Health IT

Crucial Factors Healthcare Providers Should Consider When Migrating CRM Platforms

Within the healthcare sector, the migration of CRMs faces even bigger challenges due to the sheer amount and dispersion of data. Maintaining patient safety and ensuring HIPAA-compliance are also pressing factors. Nonetheless, the results of a CRM migration are definitely worth it.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is an integral part of any successful business operation. It’s a technology that is designed to boost customer satisfaction by improving interactions and relationships. Driven by cloud computing, big data, and AI, the latest CRM models help users optimize the overall experience.

However, in order to access the latest CRM technology, organizations will inevitably need to update their systems. Migrating CRMs is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. IT specialists are usually required to bring together several legacy systems and data from different sources while ensuring business continuity.

Within the healthcare sector, the migration of CRMs faces even bigger challenges due to the sheer amount and dispersion of data. Maintaining patient safety and ensuring HIPAA-compliance are also pressing factors. Nonetheless, the results of a CRM migration are definitely worth it. Within healthcare, CRM systems can help to improve the management of patient care, streamline workflows, and make healthcare provider’s lives much easier.

However, given the hurdles, adoption of high-quality CRM systems within the healthcare industry has been slow. So what do healthcare professionals need to consider when implementing a new CRM platform?

Developing a good CRM strategy 

Before carrying out a CRM migration, it’s vital to understand what such platforms actually do and how they work. What’s more, you need to clearly define your company’s objectives before going ahead with implementation.

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Healthcare practices effectively serve two customers—providers and patients—and tech systems need to meet the needs of both. The goal of any healthcare CRM should be to improve the patient journey for better outcomes and help to drive organization growth by supporting your staff.

To achieve this, the right CRM will connect to your telephone or interactive voice response system, read and write data from your electronic health records, and schedule inside your practice management system. It will also need to work with your files and forms—so your staff are not bouncing all over the place to serve patients.

A key consideration before adoption is making sure your team is prepared. From your physicians to your receptionists, your internal team needs to be ready for changes in the way they operate.

According to the Clinician of the Future report, physicians tend to feel overwhelmed by the amount of data and systems thrown at them. And 83% think that training needs to be overhauled so that they can keep up with the latest tech adoption. While most healthcare staff are aware of the inevitable introduction of new tech in their workplace, they need support.

It’s crucial to remember that team members learn at different paces—a senior physician coming up to retirement will have different computer literacy from that of a junior doctor that has just graduated from medical school. There also needs to be flexibility to accommodate different learning styles.

Vital healthcare CRM tools 

Many CRM tools have now emerged that are specifically designed for the healthcare industry. Given the growing saturation of the SaaS CRM market, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right system for you. In light of this, any good CRM software will include at least these three segments:

  • Scheduling

Any healthcare practitioner will attest that scheduling is a massive challenge within clinics. Online scheduling within your CRM system can make all the difference, and both patients and care providers agree. According to one survey, 72% of patients said online booking platforms helped to encourage them to keep the appointment, which reduces the wasted time and resources linked to a no-show.

Much has been written about serving patients with a Patient 360 view. As its name suggests, this type of platform provides a full overview of the patient’s preferences, including details about communication requirements and appointment history. However, scheduling is also about mapping the patient needs to the provider’s offerings.

A Provider 360 database is a consolidated list of healthcare providers, which includes information like patient demographic preferences and appointment availability. Your CRM system should include both Patient 360 and Provider 360 data to facilitate accurate, easy, and fair scheduling.

  • Messaging 

A messaging hub should be an essential part of your new CRM. There are two distinct communication channels that this would support: practitioner to practitioner and patient to practitioner. Given the recent rise in telehealth services, a messaging tool such as a messaging app or an automated texting service can ensure consistent communication, improve operational efficiency, and boost patient satisfaction.

For example, a messaging hub can be used between clinical practices to help share medical equipment rather than ordering new stock. More importantly, patients can experience continuous communication with their physician. Messaging apps can also automatically remind patients of upcoming appointments, reducing the risk of a no-show, and to remind patients to renew their prescriptions.

  • Operations guide

As mentioned earlier, you need to be sure that your team is prepared for the new CRM system. The right CRM will guide your support staff and nurses safely through your organization’s workflows. This requires a Workflow 360 system that captures and monitors operations, and provides decision makers with an overview of everything happening within the practice.

A digital operations manual will help to set the standards by which your healthcare staff will work and provide clear guidance for every person serving patients. This ensures consistency in service and encourages compliance. Any policy changes can be instantly updated within the digital operations manual and communicated instantly with users.

Mapping patient outcomes 

Choosing a CRM platform that suits the every need of your practice can feel difficult. However, CRM software has a wealth of benefits that make any difficulty worth the effort. These benefits can go even further when you make the most of all of the CRM’s features.

This is where reporting comes into play. Mapping the patient journey will involve monitoring your average resolution time, first contact resolution, scheduling conversion rate, and scheduling lead time. Luckily, those are also things that most quality CRM platforms will allow you to oversee.

There are many metrics that practices can monitor to ensure the effectiveness of their CRM software. However, it all boils down to this: Is the patient experience improving? Is your organization growing? And, is your practice resilient to security challenges? If you can answer yes to these questions following your CRM migration, then you’re certainly on the right track.

Photo: grinvalds, Getty Images

Stephen Dean, Co-Founder of Keona Health, a health desk that makes omnichannel patient access fast and simple.

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