Leveraging CRM technology alongside an EHR to transform healthcare

This blog was originally published by Tribridge. Since then, Tribridge has become the DXC Eclipse practice within DXC Technology.

If you ask most physicians, they’ll tell you that electronic health records (EHRs) mean hours of data entry that result in huge productivity losses – some estimate up to 30 percent and diminished patient relationships. When doctors are stuck looking at a screen instead of looking at a patient, they can’t do their jobs.

Despite this, EHRs are a great documentation tool, but documentation doesn’t drive change. EHRs may not be perfect, but they are an essential foundation of better clinical care. To build on the successes of EHRs and reduce their negative side effects, it’s time to take the next step in the healthcare revolution.

CRM: A transformational next step

Progressive healthcare organizations are seeing that leveraging customer relationship management (CRM) software alongside their EHRs is transformational to the care they provide. Not convinced that CRM actually adds anything new? Take a look at the numbers: when healthcare organizations implemented CRM-based solutions alongside their EHRs, they:

  • Increased patient satisfaction by 19 percent
  • Increased care team productivity by 28 percent
  • Are projected to generate an average five-year ROI of 391 percent

These improvements come from three key CRM capabilities that aren’t possible through EHRs alone:

1. Holistic patient information leads to key health insights.

Take a look at an EHR and you won’t see a person. You’ll see a compilation of symptoms and chart readings that affect the person but don’t provide much insight beyond that. EHRs are traditionally limited in the types of information they can contain, which in turn limits a physician’s ability to provide high-quality care that connects with the patient. Patients aren’t just a list of symptoms and conditions.

Good doctors know that even information that isn’t strictly “clinical” can be critical when treating a patient. In fact, studies show that the quality of clinical care only contributes about 20 percent to overall health. The other 80 percent is determined by healthy behaviors (30 percent), social and economic factors (40 percent) and ability to access physicians (10 percent). Access to information about a patient’s preferences, goals, habits, preferred modes of exercise, their alcohol consumption, the quality of their home environment and whether they have transportation to medical appointments gives caregivers the more comprehensive view they need when building patient-centered care plans.

EHRs are about documenting symptoms. CRM is about understanding people. By treating patients as people first, healthcare organizations can make the best use of personal information to change the patient experience. CRM provides a unified environment for patients and care providers to build personalized patient profiles that capture a variety of information: clinical, behavioral, preferential and more.

2. Personalized care plans turn insights into action.

Taking in patient data is the first step to enabling coordinated care – but data alone can’t transform a patient’s experience. The power to synthesize data into care plans comes from solutions like Health360 Care Coordination built on Microsoft Dynamics 365. Drawing from best practices in chronic disease management, a good CRM solution can personalize a care plan based on a patient’s unique needs. The result is an intelligent, comprehensive, customizable care plan, with next best actions listed for each member of a care team.

And the insights aren’t just limited to one patient. Unlike EHRs, in which data sits stagnant in one patient’s records, CRM enables population-level analysis. Armed with information about a whole cohort, physicians can make better diagnoses of individual patients and improve population health.

This is digital transformation at work: data is transformed into insight, enabling intelligent action.

3. Better care team coordination reduces errors and ambiguity.

CRM unites doctors, nurses, home care providers, family members and the patient into a cohesive care team with a unified treatment vision. From onboarding, to care plan creation, to treatment and monitoring, care teams need a centralized hub for ongoing communication and coordination. CRM is this hub, proactively promoting care coordination both inside and outside of care facilities. Increased coordination and communication decreases medical errors and facilitates process improvements. Care team members are alerted to gaps in care and can provide support in near real-time.

This unified environment provides direct benefits for patients. With easy access to health system resources via portal or mobile, patients have a shared sense of wellness ownership and collaboration with their care providers, enabling them to have a more active role in creating their own care plan.

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