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Patient Relationship Management : What Healthcare Should Learn From Other Industries

03 Jul 2019 | by Dr. Surabhi Bhati

Healthcare providers are keen on adopting modern technology to efficiently attend to their patients. One such emerging healthcare technology is Patient Relationship Management (PRM ). PRM for healthcare is similar to CRM but taking into account the special health needs of patients. Patient relationship management is defined as the technology used to improve the experience by enhanced communication and timely assistance leading to improved health outcome of the patient.

The concept of health services is changing from volume-based to value-based care. To have a successful practice in these changing times healthcare providers need to adopt towards patient and their caregivers to improve engagement and in turn satisfaction. Moreover, various research has shown that patients who are continuously engaged throughout the care plan have better health outcomes.

It is important to understand that providing exceptional customer experience is not easy and requires the absolute commitment of your staff and technology to support the cause. Companies outside of healthcare have been actively using CRM to engage their customers at every touch point of their consumer life cycle. Several companies were able to cater to their huge consumer base with appropriate, timely and personalized communication by leveraging CRM technology.

There are many stories of exceptional customer service published over time across industries. Healthcare should learn from such stories to start implementing patient experience solutions. Healthcare providers need a clear strategy towards better patient experience and technology tools to make it easy. One such tool is Patient Relationship Management (PRM), which helps healthcare managers to provide personalized, relevant and timely communication to the patients.

Even after booking appointments, patients usually face many problems before, during and after the hospital visit.

Few of the difficulties faced include but not limited to, unaware about the procedure to be followed during the consultation, missed appointment because of lack of timely reminder. Doctors consultation is time-consuming and lacks continuity. The actual hospital visit consumes about 2 hours of personal time, and every doctor encounter is treated as new.

Healthcare providers are not in constant touch with their patients once they are out of the care facility. The hospitals usually lose touch with their patients post-consultation. This gap of continuous communication is alarming for both the healthcare provider and the patient.

Patient Relationship Management tool helps in keeping your patients informed about important health-related information like treatment schedule, follow-up appointments, at home precautions, etc. It keeps the patient and their family involved during the course of treatment resulting in faster recovery.

Two companies providing the best consumer experience - Disney and Southwest Airlines

I am sure most of us have heard stories about pioneering companies like Disney and Southwest Airlines who have created their brand on exceptional customer experience. Healthcare industry needs to learn from such examples and should develop patient experience strategy in their setup to proactively cater to their patient's demands.

It is important to acknowledge that there is no simple answer for providing exceptional service experience to your clients in this case, your patients. It is a complex combination of empathy, care, well-defined work process and technological solutions to smooth the process.

Best Consumer Experience by Disney 

If you want to learn about consumer experience, Disney is the place to be. Disney's whole business is based on providing the best experience ever to their customers, to an extent where it is even magical.

Employees working at Disney embodies the culture of openness, communication, and courtesy. The highlight of Disney's exceptional customer experience is visible in the way they personally connect with each visitor.

So, how do they do it?

The answer is quite simple - By listening to what their visitors have to say

To complete the whole consumer experience Disney uses ‘listening post’ a designated area where Disney customers can submit their opinion/feedback about the visit. Interestingly, these posts are a summary of how their consumers are liking the visit and not a standard emoji based feedback.

The approach helps them in understanding consumer expectations and recognizing any gaps in customer service. This proactive customer service is what makes Disney a pioneering brand.

How Southwest airlines are using CRM and social media to improve CX

Another such example of exceptional customer service is southwest airlines of the USA. Let dig deep to understand how they used modern technology to attend to their customers need.

Southwest airlines have achieved the reputation of providing exceptional service to their customers. Gathering and understanding customer feedback was their first step to understand consumer expectation.

Southwest has an established contact centre to respond to their customer's inquiries and issues. It was not long before they realized that there are certain customers who are not comfortable calling or emailing. Instead, they were posting comments on social media and Twitter.

To provide timely assistance to these clients, southwest airlines built a customer service team for social media. They created their company's social media pages on various platforms. The social media team keep an eye out for patients issues for prompt resolution.

Apart from social media, they also use CRM tools to send personalized, relevant, and timely information to their customers. By proactively attending to the customer's unexpressed needs, the southwest airlines were able to transform first-time travellers to loyal customers.

Easy to use Patient relationship management tool, a necessity for every healthcare organization

Healthcare consumers are more informed than ever before with greater expectations. It is high time that healthcare providers start communicating with the patients and their caregivers in the way they expect.

Healthcare customers are looking for better care experience both in and out of the care facility. Healthcare providers need a perfect amalgamation of modern patient relationship management tools and motivated employees to cater to their growing patient's demands.

Getting your team involved in the process of creating and implementing patient experience strategy in your organization will improve patient satisfaction and keeps your staff motivated. Empower your staff with training and tools to engage patients and their families at every touchpoint and to identify and resolve any existing barriers.

The approach will help you in better understanding your patients and their families needs. Eventually, helping you in proactively managing your practice

Let's take an example of follow up appointment here. Patients are often asked to book a follow-up appointment 3 to 6 months in advance. Most of the time, they are unaware of their availability that far long leading to an increased probability of no-show. In such cases, a solution where patients can inform about their availability and book an appointment as per their convenience will immensely benefit both the patients and the provider.

Hospitals working towards improving patient experience should have “Chief Experience Office” (CXO), a leadership position with a focus on improving the experience for patients and their families. Their scope of work includes a thorough study of the existing workflow to identify key areas of improvements in terms of the patient experience (PX).

A perfect combination of PRM tools with capabilities like appointment booking, online billing, patient portal, secure pre-visit registration, and motivated staff will surely help hospitals to deliver high- quality care to their patients.

We at Healtho5 are on a mission to solve patient engagement market in India and provide affordable easy to use solutions to the healthcare industry and patients.

Visit Healtho5 or call us @ +91-8047092031

About the Author: Dr Surabhi Bhati is Marketing Manager at Healtho5 Solutions. She has a medical degree with an MBA in Health Information Technology (HIT). She is passionate about healthcare innovation, writing, and online marketing.