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Consumerism in the Air at Cerner Healthcare Conference 2019

Consumerism in the Air at Cerner Healthcare Conference 2019

Technology is a critical part of transforming the patient experience. Here's why CRM is becoming table stakes for meeting growing demands for higher quality care and improved experiences at a lower cost.

Recently, my team and I (along with 14,000+ other attendees) spent three days in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Cerner Health Conference (CHC), where “NOW/NEXT” was the theme. Much of the space in the solutions gallery was dedicated to consumerism, patient access, population health, and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These topics also dominated our conversations with customers and many of the sessions across the week.

The consensus is that health care consumer expectations have been evolving over the past few years, but the pace of change is quickening. High deductible health plans, transparency tools, and new competition are accelerating the growth of the consumer-driven health care market. Consumers now expect to see health care organizations provide a connected, personalized, and efficient experience. And the expectation of a better experience continues to drive health care organizations to take action. This is especially true amongst Millennial consumers, many of whom are now heads of households and are consistently looking online and to technology to help them make decisions on whom to choose for care. According to Black Book Research, 84% of consumers under 40 look for providers who use advanced technology to communicate with themselves and care teams.

Hospitals and health systems must meet emerging consumer standards

For providers, the value of an improved patient experience is becoming more clear. There is a growing recognition among providers that patient engagement and activation are critical to moving the needle on patient experience, margin management, and population health initiatives. At CHC, we saw many inspiring examples of how provider organizations and their partners are working together to develop systems to reach consumers in new ways.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are actionable steps that organizations can take to ensure success today and tomorrow. We are seeing more and more organizations invest in customer relationship management (CRM) technologies that can support the end-to-end consumer and provider experience in an effort to meet growing demands for higher quality care and improved experiences at a lower cost. In fact, almost 70%of C-suite hospital executives say that consumer experience is their first or second strategic priority. This means that investment in CRM is not only critical; it is becoming table stakes.

What does this mean for hospitals and health systems?

Historically, provider organizations have pursued growth by appealing to health plans and physiciansHowever, as consumers take a more active role in their own health care and purchasing processes, providers seek to understand consumer preferences and behaviors. This deep level of understanding is imperative not only to acquire patients and capture market share, but also to advance population health efforts. As providers consider how best to meet the needs and expectations of consumers, inevitably the question of how to prioritize potential initiatives arises — a question that is made more complicated by the fact that many organizations have one foot in Fee For Service (FFS) and the other in Value-Based Care (VBC).

Hospitals and health system leaders know that the transition to VBC is a journey that requires both long-term and short-term strategies that are informed by dataMany of our conversations at CHC reinforced the notion that the biggest challenge organizations face in the patient experience, population health, and margin management arenas is identifying where to start. Many organizations are wondering which pain points in the patient and provider journey should transform as a matter of priority and what is the ROI associated with addressing those pain points. How do I decide what to prioritize? How will we execute once we know what our priorities are?

No regrets investments

So what are the “no regrets” investments we see organizations make? Consumer-focused access, network management, and CRM platforms topped the list at CHC. As organizations continue to lay the groundwork for VBC, they will need actionable insights to guide the design and management of new systems. Keeping in mind that with any major transformation, it’s vital to have early wins that create immediate value and build momentum toward longer-term strategic goals. In particular, CRM is a “no regrets” investment as it can be leveraged across a diverse set of use cases, including marketing and engagement, patient access center optimization, network management, patient relationship management, and care management. Additionally, CRM delivers ROI in both an FFS and VBC environment.

Salesforce and Cerner are uniquely positioned to address both population health and consumer needs

Salesforce, the global leader in health care CRM and Cerner, the world’s largest health care IT company, have partnered to deliver HealtheCRM. This is an integrated offering that combines best of breed health care and CRM platforms to close the gap between interactions and outcomes by enabling targeted personalized engagement.

HealtheCRM combines the power of Cerner’s HealtheIntent Big Data Platform with Salesforce’s Health and Marketing Clouds to drive intelligent consumer and provider engagement across the enterprise. HealtheIntent allows organizations to identify and understand key segments of a population. Salesforce Health and Marketing Clouds enable organizations to take meaningful action to activate & engage those segments. This could be driving a consumer to schedule an appointment or to remind them to take their medication. The goal is to inform consumers, drive engagement, and influence their behavior to improve health.

There is tremendous opportunity to improve care coordination and access, increase patient revenue, improve adherence, outcomes and experience, and lower the total cost of care. Technology is not the only piece of the puzzle, but it is a critical one. 

How can the healthcare industry gain a 360-degree view of patients, customers, and partners? View our interactive guide to learn more.


Erik Wagner

Erik Wagner is the Senior Director of Global Provider Strategy, Healthcare and Life Sciences at Salesforce.

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