Your customer relationship management (CRM) system is hungry. It needs to be fed consistently, or else the quality and usefulness of its data will grow weak. However, if you constantly feed it with good data, it will reward you with a clearer picture of your consumer audience and their behavior.

In healthcare, this means combining marketing data with clinical information, consumer financial data, and demographic and socioeconomic data. That combination will help you pinpoint the consumer segments that are most likely to need your services and respond to your campaigns.

How can healthcare organizations feed their CRM system? Where does that quality data come from?

The sources you already know about
Your facility most likely has an EMR/EHR, a credentialing system, and a call center. All of those provide the basics of your CRM data and give you an in-depth look into the health issues of your current patients.

Then there are other common healthcare sources for CRM data on current patients:

  • Basic provider data
  • Offices and facilities
  • Care gaps from payers
  • Claims and referrals
  • Patient discharges
  • Schedule data

Of course, some of this data will have to be de-identified for different use cases, but you can still get value from the big-picture view it provides.

Have you tried these sources?
But what about other sources, used both for prospects and for patients? For example, the data stored in subscription opt-ins from your website, or the list of speakers and attendees from last week's diabetes lecture. You definitely want to track that information because that's a group of people who have raised their hands and expressed an interest in your services, making them prime prospects.

A marketing automation tool can be a source of CRM data as well, tracking clicks, conversations, opt-outs, and so on. This goes beyond people who have signed up for your newsletter or seminar, because it shows you what has worked for engaging your audience.

Don't overlook technology as a source of information. For instance, wearables like smart watches can present insight into consumers' day-to-day activities. Healthcare is actually one segment that is fully embracing wearable technology, although not incorporating it into CRM data in a widespread manner yet. Wireless-enabled devices are used by healthcare providers to collect patient vitals. These devices automatically upload the data to the patients' records, which doesn't just reduce the time to update the records, but also eliminates the opportunity for transcription errors. Upon return visits, all that data is immediately visible in a patient's overall record. It also lets you, as a marketer, pull data on populations to know how to craft messages and what types of programs to offer that are of interest to patients.

All of this provides you with useful “first-party" data, but “third-party" data is a great source as well. Third-party is external data available for purchase by data providers who source and aggregate the data into applicable sets that can be applied to your databases. This data is integral to deploying targeted marketing campaigns because they provide hundreds of data elements that no consumer would fill out in a single form, including not only email addresses and phone numbers, but also lifestyles, demographics, purchase indicators, and more — all of which will strengthen your consumer insights.

The importance of a continuous diet
To guide users to the next best action, an effective healthcare CRM needs to bring in data from all of these sources, and it has to do so continuously so your health system can make the best decisions based on real-time, up-to-date information. A healthcare CRM that isn't constantly updated with data from these multiple sources is like a computer without power: you can push a lot of buttons, but you don't get any results for your efforts.

Now that you have all that data, combining it can be challenging. But standards-based APIs can smooth the transfer of data from numerous systems into a single CRM database.

Want more insight into use cases for the wealth of CRM data available to your health system? Check out our infographic: Practical Use Cases to Drive CRM Success..