CRMifying Healthcare: Personalized Care, Delivered

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

A company (who we’ll call X), whose sole product is providing life-altering services directly to consumers is paid only on the volume of services provided, not the value of those services realized by their customers. Company X only cares about the consumer when they show up at one of their facilities with a service request. Customers feel obligated to continue to do business with Company X because the services they provide are complex, mysterious and only available in one place. In other words, Company X enjoys a rare position in the market: they can do whatever they want and their customers are locked in. Sounds pretty easy to ignore the customer, doesn’t it?

To make things even more inefficient, consumers don’t pay directly for the services, but rather a 3rd party (who we’ll call Y) foots the bill, leaving the consumer with little or no influence over the type or quality of services provided. Company X only cares about the consumer when they show up at one of their facilities with a service request. Company Y only cares about the consumer when Company X submits a service reimbursement request to them.

Healthcare Change is Afoot

Healthcare in the U.S. is a volume game with little or no historic customer influence on the organizations that monopolize care. Thanks to Accountable Care initiatives, that’s changing – finally – and demands an entirely different (and unfamiliar) mindset and customer engagement strategy from healthcare providers.

The Customer Mindset Using CRM in Healthcare

In the early 1990s, most large companies were consumed with implementing their enterprise resource planning (ERP) strategies and systems, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to integrate internal processes to optimize their supply chain, manufacturing, human resources and financial systems. They paid very little attention to the “customer is king” proselytizing coming from the new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) upstarts of the time.

ERP efforts, by definition, were aimed to optimize the internal delivery systems of the enterprise with little or no focus on the external customers those processes should be designed to delight.

In 1993, Tom Siebel (of Siebel Systems fame) entered stage left preaching a CRM transformation strategy and having built software to help companies enable it. It wasn’t until Siebel and a couple of other “customer-focused” evangelists pressed the case for thinking differently about consumers that commercial enterprises began to take CRM seriously.

The early-90s ERP mindset sounds an awful lot like the healthcare industry 20 years later.

Healthcare providers have invested their available resources into optimizing the quality and efficiency of their in-facility processes with little or no regard for patient (customer) outcomes beyond the facility.

Should We Invent a New Wheel?

I, along with my colleagues at Tribridge, have spent a lot of time in the last couple of years decomposing the new patient-centric challenges facing healthcare provider organizations.

Organizations have to find a way to target people who will benefit the most from proactive care; engage those people; create personalized care plans; and coordinate care services outside the provider’s physical facilities.

There are a lot of companies building from-scratch software to help providers address this challenge, and we thought about doing the same thing. Then we had the “ah-hah” moment: it’s CRM stupid!

Software publishers have spent billions of R&D dollars developing enterprise-class CRM systems over the last 20 years. CRM systems are purpose-built to refocus the organization on customers and all their touch points – the proverbial 360-degree customer view.

Why would we start developing from an empty hard drive when we have enterprise-hardened CRM solutions like Microsoft Dynamics CRM to leverage?

So that’s what we did.

We created the Tribridge Care Coordination solution on the Dynamics CRM platform.

Personalized Care, Delivered

Personalized healthcare is not just about genetically-informed customization of medication and treatment. Personalized care needs to be proactive and targeted at patients who stand to benefit the most, but tailored to each individual patient’s circumstance and environment.

Enterprise-scale CRM systems in healthcare are the perfect platform to power the shift to accountable, personalized care.

Damon Auer is vice president of Healthcare for Tribridge, a national technology services firm. Auer is a 20-year technology and consulting services executive specializing in helping healthcare organizations achieve business performance improvements.

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