Patient engaging with their health record

Healthcare CRM Solutions For Improving the Patient Experience

Traditionally, customer relationship management (CRM) tools have focused on marketing to potential customers. By itself, a better and more organized marketing tool doesn’t directly improve the patient experience, but it can increase the choices that a consumer can make. More direct patient benefits include personalized healthcare guidance, improved communication preferences, and stronger provider-to-patient relationships.

KLAS has validated relatively few organizations that are using CRM technologies in this more consumer-centric way. That being said, some providers are using those technologies to their advantage. One healthcare CRM customer recently told us, “The system has changed the nature of how we engage with our patients and how we attract new patients. It has become the centerpiece of most of our marketing efforts. It is our main platform for anything digital.”

As healthcare continues to become more consumer based and as we move ahead with value-based care, CRM tools will likely prove to be an important piece of improving the patient experience.

CRM Solutions For Patient-Focused Strategy

These solutions will be increasingly important to providers as part of a broader, more patient-focused strategy. If providers simply want a faster way to market to more patients, those efforts might come off feeling more like junk mail to their target consumers. But, in this current age of consumerism, patients want to be more involved in their care. Think about yourself as a patient—we all want more personalized care and personalized communication.

In the recently published KLAS report, Patient Perspectives on Patient Engagement Technology 2020, we see that the most important thing to patients is arranging their own care and patient empowerment (including things like a patient’s access to his or her own data and shared decision making tools). Improved communication, along with provider guidance through CRM, has the potential to impact these hot spots for patients.

patient provider and vendor alignment


Aligning With Patient Goals: A Crucial Step

Generally, health systems are well aligned with patients’ goals for coordination of care and patient education. But provider goals around patient engagement don’t always align to the patients’ goals. Again, if marketing is the only use case, then providers will have to justify investment in CRM solutions by using patient acquisition as the sole success metric. Organizations that understand the broader vision of helping patients access care, partnering with patients around their own care, and navigating patients through their care journey will realize deeper benefits across several objectives. Investments in the technology will be more natural if the CRM solution can be used to meet these deeper patient goals.

Potential Stumbling Blocks in Strategy

One common barrier discussed at the November 2019 KLAS Patient Engagement Summit surrounds reimbursement types. Health systems may be interested in value-based care reimbursement models, but if they hold on to fee-for-service strategies, these systems will struggle with the more progressive technologies like CRM.

Additionally, some general organizational barriers to implementing new technology were discussed at the summit. These same barriers apply to CRM deployment. These barriers include poorly defined processes, organizational misalignment, and a lack of physician buy-in. Attendees suggested strategies to overcome these challenges. For example, to combat organizational misalignment, they recommended getting departments talking early and often and helping the various stakeholders to see the value of the technology for patients.

Moving Forward

CRM technologies seem to be well poised for helping providers connect with and guide patients to better healthcare outcomes. As these technologies continue to evolve and align provider and patient goals, we expect that they will become more prevalent in the healthcare technology stack.




     Photo credit: Adobe Stock, Rapeepat