One of the truths of the digital age is that no matter where you go or what you do, you are always leaving data behind. Your online and in-store purchases provide retailers with valuable consumer and demographic data that they can use to optimize their marketing efforts. As you visit websites, your computer or smart device collects “cookies,” which make it easier to log in and out of websites, but that also act as a sort of digital trail documenting your online journey. Even something as simple as going for a drive can result in the capture and analysis of traffic pattern data, thanks to regularly placed traffic cameras. In fact, research suggests that humanity creates as much as 2.5 quintillion bytes of data  every day , and that more data has been created in this decade than was created throughout all of the rest of human history. While this explosion of data is likely the result of many interconnected factors, much of it can be attributed to the rise of mobile computing. Mobile phones and other mobile smart devices are becoming increasingly common. The total number of smartphone users is expected to exceed 2 billion  by 2018. Taken altogether, this represents a major change in the way many industries manage their clients, and few industries feel this change as profoundly as those in healthcare.

Healthcare providers have been collecting and analyzing client data for longer than most industries. After all, to administer the correct forms of treatment, doctors and other medical professionals need to have access to detailed patient history, as well as other relevant patient data. Electronic health records (EHR) were first introduced as a way to optimize the record-keeping process. Rather than relying on paper files that are difficult to search (and costly to store and maintain), digital records could be indexed, analyzed, and retrieved with no more than a few keystrokes. EHR revolutionized the healthcare industry, and paved the way for other advances in patient management software. But while EHRs are great for keeping records, they may not be the best for engaging and managing patients. So, what is patient management software?

Strictly speaking, patient management software is software that is designed to collect relevant medical data from medical devices. However, in a broader sense, patient management software is any digital system designed to assist in the collection, organization, or analysis of patient data. The wide range of applications for patient management allow users to implement solutions for specific medical fields, such as mental health patient management software, dental patient management software, clinic patient management software, and so on. Even among specific medical disciplines, various kinds of patient management software are being created — patient complaint management software is designed to deal with client feedback, patient account management software assists with account details and finances, patient medical records management software supplements standard EHR, and so on. Unfortunately, with so many different systems all working at once, healthcare professionals often find themselves having to juggle too many programs. To make matters worse, these programs are all too often only partially compatible with each other, making seamless data integration nearly impossible. When this happens, medical errors are the natural result. Studies show that medical clerical errors are a frequent occurrence among healthcare providers. For example, patient charts cannot be found on 30% of patient visits. Thankfully, there are tools that exist that are capable of unifying the various patient management software systems into something more coherent: customer relationship management (CRM).

CRM is a type of tool that helps businesses manage data, collaborate across platforms and departments, and keep focus where it belongs — on the customer. And while health systems are not conventional businesses, patients are beginning to expect the same level of service from both. This is why it makes sense to consider the advantages that CRM brings to the table. After all, patients are customers too. The benefits of CRM include better information organization, improved communication (both within the organization as well as with clients), enhanced customer service, optimized team collaborations, and advanced data analysis. Additionally, CRM makes it possible to automate many tasks. This allows medical professionals to identify and acquire leads, follow up on those leads, and apply them to different channels and funnels. These benefits have the potential to effectively eliminate many of the problems associated with medical practice and patient management software, growing your patient base in the process.

Of course, CRM systems are not designed to be replacements for existing EHR. Instead, they function as supplemental systems, boosting and unifying other patient management systems. This augmentation makes it possible for healthcare providers to put their focus where it belongs — on the patient.

Although CRM-enhanced patient management software implementation offers many advantages over standard patient management systems, the key benefits can be summarized in three points:

  • It provides a complete picture of the patient’s needs and history.
    Knowing how to treat a patient is difficult, unless you know the patient. Advanced CRM patient relations management software can be used to display an in-depth profile for every patient. Care providers can easily access clinical and engagement events including appointment and medication history, review current conditions, access data from medical devices, and even review a patient’s prefered contact methods. This is because CRM works in conjunction with existing EHR to turn important patient data into a coherent, easily referenced story.

  • It improves patient management.
    Healthcare providers need to be up to date on every single patient, but they also need to be up to date on their entire patient population health as a whole. CRM-enhanced patient management can be used to generate a single, data-visualization-enhanced interface from which medical professionals can view all of their patients and tasks, and prioritize the most important or time-sensitive ones from the entire pool. Users can also segment the populations, dividing them into groups for easier contacting and reminders. Users can also visualize the entire care team and collaborate easier, facilitating more effective transfers of patients between doctors. CRM software can also automate many processes such as creating care plans from templates and alert staff if tasks are not completed, such as following up with a patient.

  • It enhances engagement.
    The best treatments are those that allow patients to develop ownership over their own treatments. CRM makes data more accessible, not only for care providers, but also for the patients themselves. Doctors and patients can collaborate together, communicating directly through secure messaging services. Together, they can chart progress, set and evaluate health goals, and even contact specialists when needed. And because the digital communication ecosphere has changed in the past decade, one of the most advantageous benefits of CRM-enhanced patient management is that it can be fully mobile compatible. Given that 72% of physicians access drug information from smartphones, 63% of physicians review medical research from tablets, and 44% of physicians communicate with nurses and other staff via smartphones, having a patient management system that is totally mobile-device compatible is a great way to bridge the distance between doctors, patients, and the data that both groups require.

CRM may be the most effective path to achieving patient satisfaction. With that being the case, healthcare providers are discovering that the leaders and innovators within the CRM industry may be the most likely choices for developing the best possible healthcare management CRM solutions. Salesforce is at the top of that list.

Health Cloud was developed in partnership with leading healthcare companies — including Centura Health, DJO Global, Radboud University Medical Center, UCSF, and Philips — and takes advantage of the most advanced cloud and data analysis technologies to provide a complete CRM solution for existing EHR systems. Doctors, medical facility managers, insurance providers, life sciences organizations, and even the patients themselves can now come together on a single, unified platform. The goal, of course, is to bring people together, establish working relationships of trust, and to collaborate on treatment that is not only effective, but that is also completely satisfactory for all involved. Health Cloud makes it all possible.

Patient data is everywhere, but unless healthcare providers have a reliable CRM solution to take advantage of it, it won’t do anyone much good. Medical professionals can turn this data, and the technology that feeds on it, into powerful tools to improve patient satisfaction. After all, there’s more to the modern patient than a simple entry in an EHR. Salesforce Health Cloud allows doctors to see not only the data, but also the individual behind the data, making patient-focused treatment a reality.
 
 
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