When a patient is hurt or sick, they simply want to get better. But there are many steps in between — make an appointment, fill out forms, see a doctor, get a prescription or referral — that the path to wellbeing often becomes burdensome. To add insult to injury (no pun intended), there’s always the chance of redoing paperwork or finding out there’s no record of a referral.

Unfortunately, we’ve all taken on these burdens — they remain commonplace in healthcare. As healthcare consumers, we expect a better experience — an experience that parallels what we receive when interacting with retail and consumer brands (CVS, Walmart, Amazon to name a few). In fact, many of those brands are entering the healthcare space and are poised to disrupt the industry by making the healthcare experience more accessible, more personalized, more data-driven, and more convenient.

Providers that remain “business as usual” are creating space for disruptors to win over their patients. How can you get ahead and truly take the burden away from patients once and for all?


1. Get a complete view

Leaders in retail and consumer goods know that the first step to customer engagement is to know your customer. Once the provider sees the patient, they already have the luxury of a direct, personal connection with patients. But the buck can’t start and stop in the exam room.

Time spent toggling EHRs and other systems of record (hospital, pharmacy, laboratory, billing, marketing) come at the expense of face time with patients. Consolidating data with a healthcare CRM gives everyone in the care journey, from your front desk to the doctor filling in for a patient’s primary care physician, a 360-degree view. Patients don’t have to repeat anything beyond their name and birthdate — their last appointment date, conditions, social determinants of health, and communications preferences are all right there for review and update if necessary.


2. Streamline onboarding and referrals

Two of the biggest potential pain points for patients are also the most critical: referrals and onboarding. Missteps often put the burden squarely on the patient. Take the patient who filled out their onboarding forms digitally as an example. When they get to the facility, they are asked to manually redo the paperwork because the right department never received it. With a centralized view of data that is accessible across departments, this duplication is eliminated. Patients fill out their forms at home from a secure patient portal and all necessary documents are automatically attached to their profile.

When it comes to referrals, everything comes to a grinding halt if a patient calls to schedule an appointment and the facility doesn’t know who they are. Their provider never sent the paperwork over, or the referral has been misplaced/misfiled. Suddenly the patient becomes the middleman between both offices and possible their insurer as well.

By digitizing referral management, providers start the process in real-time when the patient is still in the room. Through a referral portal connected to the healthcare CRM, providers include details in predetermined fields for insurers to process the request. All information is absorbed, the patient can see if their referral was approved by their insurer, and the other facility has what it needs to provide care right away.


3. Support today’s empowered patients 

Two decades ago, patients weren’t looking up reviews on doctors, finding in-network facilities, or researching symptoms and medication. They’d mostly get referrals by word of mouth. However, healthcare consumers now conduct research online. According to the 2019 Connected Healthcare Consumer report, 31% of survey respondents have selected a provider based on online reviews while 48% of respondents researched medication online prior to discussing with a provider.

This isn’t a passing trend — we all have looked up health-related information at one point or another (yes, even those of us who aren’t millennials). Providers need to support patients by proactively engaging with them on their preferred channel — for example, text or voicemail messages about an upcoming appointment, lab results, wellness or disease-management programs, and other timely reminders. By proactively engaging with patients, healthcare professionals not only empower patients with information but also help eliminate gaps in care while demonstrating that the provider cares and is engaged in their wellbeing.


4. Make service your strong suit

In many instances, the next interaction for patients is to schedule an appointment or ask a question. Your contact center must have all patient information, including social determinants of health, to best serve them and anticipate their needs. With a healthcare CRM, patient information is available for those moments when another doctor or nurse in the practice must advise without delay on a condition. And through a secure patient portal, patients have mobile access for quick questions and the ability to see upcoming and past appointments and even pay bills.



Do you want to disrupt or wait to be disrupted? Learn more about how a healthcare CRM can help you improve patient engagement and deliver the individual attention patients want, expect, and deserve with 360 Degrees of Healthcare.