03/28/2019 in Blog
The information age and on-demand economy have provided today’s consumers with access to a wealth of resources to support and inform their healthcare decisions. All these resources have changed how healthcare consumers research specific conditions, providers, and treatment options, which means providers and health systems have to change how they approach marketing and loyalty. Because point-of-care interactions need to be supported and enhanced by marketing and communication activities that happen outside the hospital, your organization needs a better way to fully understand patient behavior and what influences them.
When health systems were initially tasked with developing a consumer engagement strategy, they focused primarily on the clinical journey of a patient: pathways, diagnosis, services, and outcomes in clinical settings. The key to accelerating consumer engagement in today’s world of healthcare consumer experience is to integrate clinical interactions with patient-related health activities that happen at home and across social environments. This requires you to integrate EHR system data with CRM system data to expand and refine consumer insights, account for individual preferences and needs, and discover opportunities in your market.
Shift your focus beyond episodic care
The full patient journey is difficult for most health systems to master. Although the discrete moments of engagement when a patient is physically present in a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital are important, they still represent a limited view. With a fragmented view, you’re prevented from engaging along more touchpoints while your providers are limited in their ability to guide consumers along health journeys that provide optimal outcomes at the best cost.
There are two primary components of end-to-end engagement in healthcare that need to work together to build and utilize this more longitudinal consumer journey. The first is the Electronic Health Record (EHR). An EHR creates a long-term view of a consumer’s care journey, an ongoing record of a patient’s condition and treatment that is most effective at or during moments of medical need. The second critical tool for health systems is a robust CRM platform. An intelligent CRM solution provides health systems with an extensive view of consumer attributes, behaviors, and risk beyond clinical data. Integrating your EHR into your CRM system creates a more holistic view of the consumers and patients in your market.
Predicting behavior, inspiring change
Where a CRM platform can provide insights that help personalize messages and build affinity at every touch point, an EHR by design is more focused on clinical encounters. Integrating your EHR into your CRM system ensures you have building blocks at every stage of the patient-journey, including those before the patient arrives at the point of care. According to a Pew Internet & American Life study, 80% of internet users (or about 93 million Americans) have searched for a health-related topic online. With this massive influx of consumers performing research and information gathering online, your organization must get better at CRM optimization if you’re ever going to truly capitalize on opportunities to build loyalty and engagement.
Identifying consumers on an at-risk basis before they arrive for care is critical for your health system to improve outcomes. Clinical predictive models within a CRM platform allow you to identify potentially high-risk patients and consumers who would benefit from engagement with your health system. The primary goal of this kind of engagement is to inspire behavior change, which could lead to improved outcomes.
Health systems also need to engage “well” consumers, because someday they will be sick or their family members will be sick. Using CRM to tailor your communications to these consumers in a way that motivates them to start thinking about their care differently is essential to success here. This type of engagement can prompt proactive behavior, such as taking a risk assessment or attending a seminar for more information.
Building trust with data science
Building trust in healthcare is challenging because it’s a more personal industry by nature and depends on your organization having a holistic understanding of patient clinical and non-clinical health-related activity.
Every consumer touchpoint and engagement must indicate the same level of understanding and attention to individual needs. What makes CRM platforms unique is the ability to handle data in real time from multiple sources, including EHRs. The data is holistic and precise, offering a definitive picture of consumer behavior, market demand by zip code, psychographics, and so much more. This data provides a complete view of opportunities, challenges, trends, and strategies to reach consumers with meaningful messages that will attract them and establish the trust necessary for a long-term relationship.
Why loyalty & engagement matters
Consumer loyalty directly impacts your health system’s market share, acquisition, retention, and spending. According to research, over 40% of consumers are not loyal to a provider or health system. With changes in insurance and increased out-of-pocket costs, consumers have begun to prioritize price and service over amenities and convenience.
Engagement in healthcare is far more complex than other industries. Through early intervention and preventive methods, successful engagement reduces or eliminates demand by minimizing incidents of repair care and assessing health risks. Security and privacy within healthcare are crucial, with personal data protection becoming a top priority for consumers and companies. In addition to the laws and requirements in place to enforce healthcare data security, consumers also have expectations about how their data is stored. To establish trust, you have to directly and proactively address these key concerns with consumers.
Some organizations address these challenges by hiring or appointing a Chief Experience Officer to facilitate long-term — preferably lifelong — relationships based on loyalty and trust. Marketers support this role by zeroing in on the factors that influence trust, such as credibility, making a personal connection, communicating a shared vision, minimizing uncertainty, and managing expectations.
Building a framework
For real loyalty to occur, you have to engage on the individual level, which requires a complete view of the consumer journey across your healthcare environment. An effective CRM system enables personalized conversations across all of your health system’s communication channels. Synchronizing each department in the care journey allows every consumer or patient interaction to be fully informed and optimized.
In Greystone’s 2019 Digital Marketing Survey, nearly six in ten (60%) healthcare organizations have a CRM system, but only 12% report that their CRM and website(s) are well integrated. For health systems to transform consumer engagement and motivate sustainable, proactive behavior change that improves a patient’s health, a data-rich CRM system that can reach and activate the consumer throughout their health journey is required. This individual focus creates a foundational framework that lowers the cost of care by improving outcomes through earlier diagnosis and treatment
The road to success
Understanding the consumer journey can be a challenge, but Healthcare CRM was built to help you learn from all your consumer and patient touchpoints. Start with a framework, and validate your hypotheses with CRM data, testing, and optimization.
Want to learn more about how to master the consumer journey to meet the unique needs of each and every patient? Read Play #5 from our CRM Playbook.