If you've run across the term “healthcare consumerism" more than once in your work, the 5 minutes it takes to review this guide will be time well invested.

Fostering consumer loyalty with your patients is only going to become more difficult as other industries (and your competitors) better understand and implement the tools necessary to deliver an exceptional consumer experience. That's why we want to talk with you about one of the primary tools you should be considering: a healthcare customer relationship management (CRM) system.

You might be thinking this doesn't apply to you if you already have one in place or are already in the process of implementation, but we encourage you to read on. Healthcare CRM is more than technology and requires the alignment of data, processes, and most importantly, people, to establish a life-long brand connection with your healthcare consumers.

Your Introduction to Healthcare CRM
Personalization and effectiveness measurement are the future of healthcare, and healthcare CRM is how marketing gets in on the game.

CRM allows healthcare marketers to obtain, record, and store information from a variety of sources in a single place, including consumer behavior, interactions, and demographics, making management of consumer relationships and predicting behavior simple and fluid. That means an organization leveraging the power of CRM can capture valuable information from emails and phone calls, in clinical settings, including at home, as well as from sources unaffiliated with the organization that provide valuable insights into socioeconomics and demographics unavailable from a traditional healthcare data source. This plethora of information allows an organization to build a foundation of new patient acquisition and positive consumer relationships through every stage in the healthcare journey.

A General Guide
Healthcare CRMs can be complex products with a mix of modules, features, and applications that may or may not be useful to you. To keep things simple, here's a general guide to what your organization might need.

Most organizations will require:

A Consumer Data Model: to make sure everyone can access the information they need in real-time

Role-Based Views: to control what different users see

Intelligent Targeting: to help you properly prioritize your consumer follow-up

Predictive Analytics: an incredibly powerful aid in analyzing consumer data to predict needs and behaviors

Direct Mail Campaigns: an old-school but powerful way to connect with prospects and patients

Digital Campaigns: an absolute must as search and social marketing continue to grow in importance

Reports & Dashboards: to view statistics that result from data collected

Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) Integration: a great way to scale your personalized marketing by sending automated email, based on pre-determined rules.

Advanced organizations will require:

Lead Tracking & Management: to identify and optimize opportunities in various marketing channels

Benchmarking: to keep your results in line with your efforts

HL7 & CDA Data Feeds: so that your EHR and CRM play nicely together

Organizations with larger goals for the future might require:

Customizable Home Screen & Layouts: if you have users who need or prefer unique views

Custom Reporting: for deep dives into your database and analytics

API Access: to extend the capabilities of your CRM by connecting with other platforms

How Do You Know if You REALLY Need a CRM System?
You might be wondering whether you actually need a CRM. That's a great question to ask, and here's an easy way to get your answer. If you're prioritizing any of these 7 points in your strategic goals …
1. Consumer attention and market share 2. A higher return on marketing investment 3. Patient loyalty and lifetime value 4. Becoming a data and performance-driven marketing team 5. Population health 6. Regulatory compliance and data security7. A consumer-centric culture
… it's time to start the CRM consideration process.

What Your CRM Can't Miss …
There is an almost infinite number of choices you can make when putting together your CRM, but there are also a few things you're not going to want to miss no matter what choice you make.

Integration and intelligent targeting are analytics features that every healthcare organization will get a lot of data mileage out of. On the reporting side, two-tier performance measurement will support your understanding of a consumer's behavior through the healthcare journey and measure campaign effectiveness across multiple channels at multiple stages. You'll also want to make sure you check off lead management and a cumulative pipeline view to empower your marketing department and keep score across the board.

Getting Your House in Order
Preparation for selecting your CRM is a combination of understanding how ready your organization is to move forward with your implementation and building the business case for decision-makers.

Make sure you've got a good handle on …

  • Short and long-term benefits and risks
  • Financial and strategic goals and expectations
  • Measurements to monitor progress and evaluate effectiveness
  • The benefits, risks, and costs of not acting on your need for a CRM

Your next steps will involve putting more meat on those goals, building out and informing your team, defining requirements, and jumping into the shopping process.

This is just an overview, and there are a lot more features, use cases, and details you should consider. That's why we've put together a white paper that includes an awesome self-assessment worksheet, how to build a business case, help with measurement, and more. Get started on your CRM journey now.