In an effort to provide this level of customer/patient service, most care providers have already adopted some form of electronic health record (EHR). In fact, according to a Medscape survey, 83% of physicians use an EHR. EHRs function as a kind of healthcare management solution. What is healthcare management? Simply put, healthcare management is the process by which the ongoing logistics and data associated with patient treatment — including patient history, progress notes, complications, prescriptions, immunizations, laboratory data, and test results — are stored, organized, and kept up to date. Healthcare management software includes programs designed to help with billing, scheduling, task organization, and so on. But while healthcare management systems are certainly valuable, the problem is that caregivers often rely on many different, nonintegrated programs to provide a comprehensive healthcare management solution. As a result, data can get lost, misinterpreted, or incorrectly filed as it is passed between programs.
The problem becomes even more apparent when patients switch caregivers. When patients are transferred from one medical professional to another, information may easily get lost in the shuffle. When patient data is incorrectly handled, it can lead to medical errors, which are currently the third leading cause of death in the United States (after heart disease and cancer). Perhaps even more telling is that researchers suggest that by improving communication, patient injuries from medical errors could be reduced by as much as 30%.
Just as CRM has made it possible for businesses and other organizations to streamline, coordinate, and optimize their customer interaction, it can likewise revolutionize the healthcare management process. However, CRM is not meant to be a standalone solution to replace conventional EHR. Instead, it should complement and enhance existing clinical systems.