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Ask the right questions before diving in to healthcare CRM

The healthcare CRM market is crowded and it can be difficult to know how to choose the right solution. Our experts outline the right questions to ask before you begin your journey.

Healthcare CRM promises to bring providers and patients closer together, but technology can only go so far. We asked four health IT experts for their best advice as to what healthcare organizations need to know before choosing a CRM platform. Here are some questions they say decision-makers may not have thought to ask during their selection process:

How does the healthcare CRM vendor feel about data silos?

"This is the only question that really matters if you're looking for true data interoperability," said Aditya Bansod, co-founder and CTO of CRM platform provider Luma Health. "An EHR or a practice management system is a treasure trove of actionable insights, but they're useless if you can't unlock the data."

What are your practice goals?

"You need to start with some really very simple but yet very profound questions internally," said Kyra Hagan, senior vice president of marketing and communications at Influence Health. "What is our purpose and goal in collecting and managing consumer data? What uses cases does it support? Which departments across the enterprise will be impacted? Where does our existing consumer data live?" Once those questions have been answered, you can go looking for a vendor with a clear understanding of what you need, Hagan said. "It's a basic requirement: Until the plumbing is established there can be no enablement on top of the data."

Will the healthcare CRM tool be customizable?

"Different patients respond differently," said Josh Weiner, COO of Solutionreach. So whether it's the ability to send a truly personalized text or GPS coordinates to ensure the patient goes to the right facility, make sure your healthcare CRM solution offers a lot of flexibility. "Providers need to compete, but they haven't realized how important it is to compete," he said. "We've seen patients with a high propensity to switch practices if they're not offered a variety of high-tech solutions."

Will your choice support you in the longer term?

"Eventually the reminder isn't just 'come in for your colonoscopy', it's 'let's talk about what's happened since you were discharged with hypertension,'" said Brian Eastwood, an analyst at Chilmark Research. "You've got to incorporate outreach into broader care management. The vendors who win [in this market] are going to make those interactions more personalized, more frequent, more routine and just more interesting for patients so that they are receiving information from a healthcare provider that doesn't feel like a burden. It should be something that's welcomed as a thoughtful interaction."

This was last published in September 2018

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