Multiple Reasons to Build a CRM for Hospital Management
We are lucky to witness a transformation of healthcare approach – “patients go after hospitals” concept has been shifting to “healthcare providers follow patients”. This is absolutely normal, as healthcare becomes more and more patient-centered. Healthcare providers compete to get more patients. The hospitals, clinics and other medical institutions are forced to improve their operations and develop more targeted patient management processes to attract and retain patients. In the light of an increase in the number of patients, healthcare providers need to implement some automation to be able to process all patient-related aspects such as patient database inquiries, patient records, prescriptions, visit scheduling etc.
All this looks very similar to the way how retailers and other sales businesses manage relations with their customers. At least, both healthcare providers and sales businesses use similar instrument – Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) software. This post, actually, was written to let those healthcare providers, who are hesitating whether or not to purchase, or order development of, a dedicated CRM solution, that it is not something extremely difficult and that building a healthcare CRM software can substantially benefit both parties – medical institution and its patients.
Why Does Your Hospital Need to Provide a Medical CRM
The main goal of any medical institution, be it public hospital or private clinic, to provide the highest quality healthcare services to its patients. Achievement of this goal is not possible without establishing proper relations with the patients and implementing an appropriate procedure to manage such relations. In addition to the patient management, hospitals and clinics need to manage their routine and not only operations such as drug inventory, medical equipment status, staff appearance, vacations, timetables, consumables, electricity/gas/water etc. bills. All this requires a lot of resources – time, employees to cope with it and so on. Certainly, it is possible to move many of these tasks onto computers and do them in matching computer programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel, Pomodoro, Reminders, etc. But it is still a thorn in the foot as everything is in different programs and you will need somehow to merge data from different sources into something single, making sure that you haven’t lost or exposed anything to a security risk.
The mentioned problems – data loss and security threat – can be resolved by using a secure and reliable software, which is a healthcare CRM solution. The CRM in healthcare industry helps hospitals, clinics and other treatment facilities get rid of many human-induced mistakes such as unvisited appointments, uncovered prescriptions, unlogged patient vitals and so on. The CRMs also help healthcare facilities to manage their relations with medical equipment suppliers and pharmaceutical companies that provide various drugs for medicinal purposes. CRM solutions aid hospitals to properly communicate with other medical institutions through secure and reliable communication links.
As we can see, healthcare CRM systems are similar to universal ones. The difference is that healthcare CRMs must be, and they actually are, way more secure, as the patient privacy is a matter of uppermost attention of any healthcare provider.
Benefits of Implementing a Hospital CRM System
Let’s assume that you are the General Manager of a hospital, who faces a lot of challenges in the hospital’s daily operations, such as patient data loss, mistakes in patient records and prescriptions, missed appointments, overdue payments of medical staff salary, unpaid invoices of medical production vendors etc. The hospital you are running is losing its reputation among consumers of healthcare services, i.e. the patients. They are leaving to your competitors. You are very close to being fired. But at some of the industry meetings you hear about healthcare CRM systems, and make the decision to start a hospital CRM software. It’s a great decision, but you first need to learn about the benefits it will bring to your hospital.
Boosting Customer Experience
A matching hospital CRM (or HCRM) system empowers your hospital to better care about the patients.
One of the main features of any healthcare CRM solution is advanced patient database processing functionality. Using this system, you will always know who you patients are, what illness they suffer from, what medications they take, where else they receive treatment, what their family health records are and so on.
That’s how healthcare CRM systems help you know your patients better on different levels – both as individuals and as a group or certain category. Let’s see how exactly your patients can get better experience thanks to your decision to develop a healthcare CRM software.
(A) Improved patient personalization
Made-to-order medical CRM systems provide their users, hospitals and clinics, with superior personalization features. A bunch of various tools can be used for this purpose, such as color coding, labelling, tagging, sorting, filtering etc. Since all patient records are kept in an electronic database, you can display them on computers in any desired form. No more identical paper folders at the Check-in Desk.
(B) Reduced waiting time
Thanks to the patient relationship management software installed on workstations of all doctors at your hospital, there is no longer need for a patient to come in to a hospital and wait there for a doctor. The doctors schedule patient visits precisely and enter dates and times into the system. The system can be configured to send reminders to both the doctor and the patient. Another use of the CRM is that patients when checking in at the desk need to wait less time as all their data is in the system and can be brought to the screen in just a couple of clicks. The doctors will also be happy as their patients will arrive on time.
(C) Enhanced post-discharge follow-up
Post-discharge follow-up of patients can be quite difficult if you use conventional systems. But if you utilize a healthcare CRM system, the flow can be much smoother. The system can be set to automate patient follow-up by sending emails and/or text messages to patients at a predefined time. Such messages contain reminders to take medicines, visit doctors or anything else. While being not so personal as phone calls, automated messages reach the patients when it is needed, and help medical staff – nurses etc. – focus on their priority work. This feature also helps keep patients more informed, more engaged in their care.
Reducing Administrative Errors
Unautomated procedures and multiple nodes of information receipt and storage lead to errors. This statement is valid for almost every area, be it healthcare or mechanical engineering. The concern is that in case of healthcare such errors can have directly affect health and even life of patients.
For instance, many of us were in a situation when we had to provide the same information to several doctors several times. It is called unnecessary data duplication and is quite big administrative problem that, in its turn, may even risks for patient health.
The American Health Information Management Association states that an average rate of duplicate patient records in an average hospital is as high as 10%. It means that patients may receive the wrong therapy or medicine or suffer allergies because the data about it is on their duplicate records.
With the hospital CRM system this concern is eliminated: patient data is stored in the system and can be accessed by authorized medical staff when needed, so patients don’t have to repeat the information each time to each different doctor.
Duplicate health records can also lead to unneeded repeated medical tests or exams, unnecessary harmful X-ray scanning, or even to the wrong choice of surgical operation. But if your hospital opted to make a healthcare CRM solution and implemented it for all hospital operations, then tall test results, surgery schedules etc. are logged in to the healthcare CRM, no data will be lost, and it can be accessed at the next patient visit or admission and help assess the treatment efficacy and, respectively, save a patient’s life.
Tracking of Referral Patients to Resume Interrupted Care
Over a quarter of physicians who refer their patients to specialized doctors cannot confirm that the referral patients have come to see the specialists, as there is basically no options to track these patients unless specialized software is used.
The possible solution is a healthcare CRM system that is able to build and monitor the whole patient’s timeline, from the first visit to a physician and up to the patient’s curation, with visits to specialist doctors in the middle. This system will allow to efficiently manage referral patients and keep all the information in a single location for future needs. It will also notify both the physician and the specialist that their patient has got lost somewhere between them, so they can take appropriate measures in order to resume the interrupted care for the patient as soon as possible.
Making Medical Data More Secure
Healthcare data security in the 21st Century is one of the most important concerns. According to Ponemon Institute’s report published in 2016, data breaches cost the healthcare industry USD 6 billion every year, with an average cost of data breaches for one medical institution equal to more than USD 2 million. More than half of healthcare organizations have no proper incident response system to cope with medical data security breaches. Among the key reasons leading to such breaches are insufficient level of PHI (patient health information) protection, i.e. free access to medical records, weak passwords, lack of medical staff training on data protection etc., or no relevant medical information management tools at all.
Therefore, when you want to build a medical CRM software or if you outsource the development to an external company, be sure to ensure the highest possible level of data security. In the course of the development you or your contractor can embed a variety of protection instruments in order to secure sensitive information of your hospital and your patients, for instance:
- Biometric identification (fingerprint, eye iris etc.)
- Data encryption
- Digital or electronic signature
- Role- and level-based access to relevant databases
- Secure and redundant data storages
All these things can be implemented when you are ready to make a hospital CRM, and they can mitigate medical data breach risk and, respectively, free your healthcare institution from possible future problems, such as noncompliance with HIPAA Security Rule, lawsuits from your patients etc.
How Much Does It Cost To Build Your Own CRM System
Well, you are about to make a CRM software for the healthcare industry. What should you know?
You need to know that healthcare customer relationship management system is a CRM software, though very specialized and custom. “Custom” means that it will be adapted to meet your specific needs, so you will need to pay for the features you want to include in your hospital system.
So, in order to get more precise figures as to the cost you need to pay to build a medical CRM software, you will have to determine which features you need. As already mentioned, healthcare CRM is still a CRM, so it has to have Customer Management Module serving as a fusion of patients’ address book with notes, Patient Health Information Module to store all patient-specific data in one location with easy access, Analytics and Reporting Module to create, edit, view, and export various reports and statistics on patients or hospital operations for future uses.
Additional modules, such as advanced communications module, mobile dashboard, inventory module, accounting module, medical staff management module etc., add to the CRM system development cost significantly, as you need not only to build them but also to introduce them into your CRM solution and ensure well-optimized interoperability of all modules of the system.
As you may see, your intention to build a medical CRM software may cost you an amount that varies from a couple of thousands of dollars up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The cost will also depend on your choice of a contractor to build a healthcare CRM. A significant importance will have the location of the software development contractor, as hourly rates of software engineers differ substantially, and the figure below is a good proof.
The reason why so many projects are performed to develop a CRM for healthcare industry is that hospitals, clinics, and healthcare administrations have understood all the benefits offered by customer relationship management solutions. It is not just a common trend to have a CRM system implemented at your hospital. It is a vital necessity, as patients are no longer willing to content themselves with stark treatment. They want to have maximum possible quality of healthcare services. They want to get personalized information about their therapy. They want to get, actually, all those benefits of custom service which are offered by modern IT and medical technologies.
On the other side, healthcare institutions want to get tools that would help them retain their existing customers and attract new ones. The medical facilities want to cut labor costs and mitigate human factor risks both in the administrative and medical matters. And properly planned custom-build CRM system can help both parties have their expectations met. When you are ready to transform your hospital from just a treatment premise into a patient-friendly therapeutic environment, give DIGIS a call, and we will show you how you can have everything improved in the shortest term. Your patients will certainly feel the difference, while your hospital will be able to compete at this extremely specialized but interesting healthcare market!