A healthcare facility is always a hive of activity.
Nurses move from patient to patient, assessing their vitals and jotting down notes.
Doctors see multiple patients each day, tracking their progress from previous visits to adjust prognoses, treatment regimens, and drug combinations.
Hospital administrators track patient outcomes, ensure compliance, and manage billing and reporting.
And somewhere in the midst of all that, all three groups need a way to access the same data in real-time to make the right decisions.
This is where most medical practices get stuck.
The dangers of manual patient management
Healthcare providers collect and analyze data longer than most industries due to the nature of the job.
But manually doing the above tasks takes longer, invites errors, and hampers visibility into patient outcomes.
Electronic health record systems (EHR) help manage patient data, but they don’t accommodate patient engagement and medical billing.
That’s where patient management CRM software comes in.
Patient management CRM software: use cases, features, and benefits
Patient management software helps healthcare practices manage patient data at scale and offers a centralized way to manage processes.
A patient management CRM helps you with use-cases such as:
- Complaint management: Collect feedback from patients during and after their engagement with you to address dissatisfaction.
- Billing and forecasting: See at a glance what’s pending, paid, or waived — and support account collection with data.
- Account management: Process patients on a case-by-case basis with personalized service for each.
- Vaccine rollouts: Manage vaccine rollouts in your area and track first visits, booster shots, and side effects.
- Clinical trials: Manage drug or treatment trials, track results more effectively, and generate reports for auditing purposes.
- Compliance: Generate reports on different aspects of your healthcare business to track compliance with state, federal, and global regulatory requirements such as HIPAA.
Is your medical field a good fit for patient management CRM?
You can use a patient management CRM in different medical fields such as:
- Sexual and reproductive health
- Occupational therapy
- Emergency care
- Mental health
- Dental care
The benefits accrue to everyone in the ecosystem, from physicians and hospital administrators to nurses and patients.
Using a patient management CRM, patients can schedule appointments with their primary physicians from the comfort of their homes. They do this through integrated online forms that feed appointments directly into the CRM.
Patients can also view and export their data for other uses without going through several receptionists and nurses.
Doctors can view patient histories, diagnoses, and treatment regimens and make recommendations.
A healthcare CRM can display an in-depth profile of each patient, draw data from their medical devices through APIs and connectors, and send communications to patients via email and text.
Nurses can track patient progress, update current readings and test results, communicate with physicians, and adjust medication on the fly.
They can also view outstanding tasks, manage visitations, and coordinate transfers between facilities.
Hospital administrators can manage billing, medical insurance claims, and staff workloads to avoid over-extending their teams.
They can also generate real-time reports for compliance teams to perform audits faster and institute governance processes effectively.
Top features of patient management CRMs
A healthcare facility needs to cut costs, maximize revenue, and deliver patient satisfaction. A patient management CRM accomplishes that by helping you to:
- Follow up with patients and visitors to better understand their needs and suggest helpful treatments and consultations
- Integrate with other software you use to run your healthcare facilities, such as email and storage apps
- Perform advanced data analysis to spot friction and improve service delivery
- Organize patient information better and improve data search
- Improve communication between patients, doctors, and nurses
- Grow your customer base and baseline revenue year over year
- Automate mundane administrative tasks
- Optimize team workloads
Cloud-based vs. on-premise patient management software: which is better?
An on-premise CRM solution is installed, configured, and maintained locally.
If you have a problem, you call an expert to fix it — and likely pay high call-out fees.
If you move to a different practice, buy new devices, or change practice locations, there goes all your data.
By contrast, a cloud-based CRM solution is one that you can access from any device, anywhere, any time. You can manage subscriptions, devices, and user access at scale.
There’s no need to install anything — just start using it immediately. This minimizes the need for servers, hard drives, and extra security.
Experts can troubleshoot your problems from anywhere in the world without having to come to you and bill you call-out fees. And because it’s cloud-based, you get updates automatically.
A cloud-based CRM solution also lets you spread out the cost by paying a small monthly fee, compared to the upfront installation fee for on-premise solutions. This leads to better cash flow.
Selection checklist: 7 factors to consider when choosing a CRM for patient management
Once you’ve decided to invest in a patient management CRM, there are a few key elements to consider as you choose from among the many options on the market.
This step is critical, as picking the wrong patient management CRM can lead to:
- Disjointed data
- Low team adoption
- Patient dissatisfaction
- Possible non-compliance
To avoid this outcome, consider the following seven elements during your search:
- Ease of use
- Mobile access
- Workflow automation
- Reporting and analysis
- Vendor support and troubleshooting
As your practice takes on more patients, adds new providers or vendors, or begins new activities like clinical trials and vaccine rollouts, you’ll need a CRM that can keep up.
Assess the pricing packages and feature stacks of each CRM on your shortlist to ensure they can support your organization in the long run.
#2 Ease of use
Adoption is directly related to ease of use. A clunky, poorly designed CRM will only add friction to your staff’s workday.
During CRM demos, see if you can do something as simple as adding a new patient to the database without any help. If this simple process isn’t intuitive, the software will give you a hard time overall.
#3 Mobile access
Your team works on the go, and you need a CRM that enables that process. A modern CRM will come with a companion mobile app that allows you to perform many of the same tasks you can do on a desktop or tablet.
Avoid CRM tools whose mobile apps are merely notification centers or a thin shell of the main desktop version.
Your facility is unique, and you need a CRM that can adapt to your needs. If you need extra fields or columns in your database, you or your admins should be able to add those in easily without calling IT support.
Your patient management CRM should also let you change the brand colors, add new apps, control user access, and determine data types for different records.
#5 Workflow automation
There are administrative tasks you can’t avoid. The right CRM can help you automate many of these activities.
Take patient billing, for instance. Typically, you’d need to:
- Gather information about the procedures or consultations you’ve had with the patient
- Generate an invoice with the correct information about each service
- Send the invoice manually to the patient’s email address
- Check for payment received
- Update your financial accounts with the payment information
- Send the patient a receipt or confirmation email of their paid-up account
The above process spans several days, takes up precious time to conclude, and opens you up to input errors.
But with the right CRM, you can set up workflow automations that track when you’ve completed treating a patient and automatically:
- Pull in the patient’s details
- Generate an invoice based on the services rendered
- Send that invoice to your patient and finance department
- Monitor your banking email account for incoming mail
- Match incoming payments to the patient’s ID in your database
- Record the payment in your system and update your accounts
- Send a receipt to the patient with a thank-you note
All without you lifting a finger.
This is due to a nifty CRM feature called ‘stages.’ Modern CRMs allow you to set stages depending on where you are in your engagement with a patient.
Let’s say you define seven stages in your practice: stage 1 is ‘Patient inquiry,’ stage 2 is ‘Nurse’s assessment’… and stage 7 is ‘Done.’
When you set a patient’s stage to 7 (‘Done’), the CRM can fire off the above steps to generate and send an invoice to the patient, track payment, and update accounts in the background.
Using such automations, your team can win back valuable hours each week and enjoy more productive workdays.
As you choose between different CRMs, ask about their automation features and get a live demo tailored to your use case.
#6 Reporting and analysis
Healthcare leaders depend on accurate data to make sound business decisions. A CRM excels at supporting this function.
Using a patient management CRM solution, you can view and generate complex reports, filter and sort data according to your needs, and automate sending reports to the right stakeholders.
Say goodbye to fiddling with spreadsheets or entering incorrect formulas. With a CRM, you can generate accurate reports in just a few clicks.
Ask about the reporting features of each CRM you’re considering to ensure they can produce and visualize the data you need.
#7 Vendor support and troubleshooting
Modern patient management CRMs come with robust documentation and user guides to help you troubleshoot common problems.
This saves your team from calling in support for every minor issue, saving everyone time and money.
As you browse your CRM options, consider their documentation library and ask about the level of support you can expect online and offline.