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How Piedmont Healthcare Personalizes the Patient Experience to Drive Loyalty

How Piedmont Healthcare Personalizes the Patient Experience to Drive Loyalty

If we wanted to retain and grow our customer base, it was time to personalize how we communicated with patients and effectively get them faster access to care — on their own terms.

This article was written by Piedmont Healthcare, a Salesforce customer.

For more than a century, Piedmont Healthcare has been a recognized leader in delivering expert care. As Chief Consumer Officer, I’m proud that in 2018, we supported more than half a million emergency department visits, 325 transplants, and nearly 80,000 surgeries. Today, more than two million patients across Georgia rely on our healthcare services.

However, despite being consistently recognized for quality of care, we realized we needed to transform the entire patient experience outside of the exam room. From reducing wait times to streamlining the appointment-booking process, we needed to find new and innovative ways to meet patient expectations.

Develop a customer-centric approach

We realized that if we wanted to retain and grow our customer base, it was time for an entirely new strategy that could maximize value for patients and providers alike. By personalizing how we communicated with patients, we could engage more effectively with them and help them get faster access to care — on their own terms.

As a starting point, we widened our concept of “the patient experience” to include every customer interaction in every one of our settings. At the same time, we embraced powerful new technology and tools to help us connect every provider and organization across our ecosystem and increase the quality of communications.

By integrating Health Cloud with Marketing Cloud, Piedmont Healthcare has modernized its approach to marketing in ways that are more data-driven and transparent. The result is the Piedmont Way, a customized, enterprise-wide digital framework. While the marketing team developed this framework, it now touches every part of our organization, with a focus on three key outcomes.

1. Patient personalization

A connected system gives us a shared view of the customer across all our business units, from management to sales and marketing. We’ve armed ourselves with richer insights into patients’ needs and preferences based on better visibility of their data, including social determinants such as employment. This makes it much easier to personalize outreach to patients.

Let’s say a provider is holding a skincare clinic and wants to provide additional information about sunscreen to patients. Our connected framework allows the marketing team to quickly build a patient list, then engage with those people across email, mobile, and social channels. And because it’s quicker and easier to launch such campaigns, we can also increase the volume and frequency of communications, sending personalized messages to patients at scale.

2. Improved provider referral and outreach management

Traditionally, our sales teams had no automated way to quickly understand the status of relationships with affiliated physicians.

Now, because we’ve moved to a common platform and a single source of records for communications, all staff members who interact with physicians can have a clearer understanding of previous interactions. This makes it much easier for relationship managers and quality specialists to nurture new physician leads and track communications.

3. Increased operational efficiency

The Piedmont Way uses a range of customer experience tools to help us better serve patients — from a payment portal that makes bills easier to understand and pay, to a wayfaring app that helps patients navigate hospitals and an online appointment booking system that links more than 600 of our providers. We also deploy chatbots to boost productivity and efficiency since they respond to requests faster and better meet patients’ expectations.

Fit for the future

Deploying such technologies frees up support teams so they can apply their human intelligence to more complex queries. At the same time, by switching to a single connected system, we have reduced operating expenses, eliminated the cost of the previous system as well as the agency fees we were spending on marketing campaigns.

Putting the community at the heart of what we do has always differentiated us as a provider. But now, by elevating the customer experience to a central part of our system, we’re getting even better at it. From the back office to our doctors’ offices, the impact of all these changes is a healthy one — not just for our patients, but for Piedmont as a whole.

To learn more, see Piedmont Healthcare prescribes stronger bonds with patients and physicians. Explore the connected patient journey.


Matt Gove

Matt Gove is Chief Consumer Officer for Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare, where he oversees marketing, communications, patient experience, community benefit and government relations for the seven-hospital system.

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