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CRM Saves Lives
Maybe so, but only if the healthcare industry can better diagnose and care for its patients.
Posted Jan 25, 2010
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With the economy on the skids and revenues in freefall, businesses across the board are reevaluating their lead generation and customer management strategies. This is true even for the healthcare, an industry once thought recession-proof.

Hospitals are experiencing a jolt to their operating margins due in part to declining health insurance reimbursements and a rising population of uninsured and under-insured patients. This shock to the healthcare system is prompting the industry to embrace technology to deliver more efficient and cost-effective patient care, including CRM systems that take a targeted approach to promoting healthcare services.

CRM's Secret Sauce

The key to effective CRM-driven marketing for both healthcare and non-healthcare alike is to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. To capture the interest of consumers, an outreach campaign needs to address the individual needs of its recipients when they need that information the most via touch points that correspond to their preferences.

To do this, an organization needs a comprehensive CRM database and analytical software that can predict the likelihood of each individual to require specific services or products-or, in the case of healthcare, the likelihood of patients to require specific treatments or develop certain health conditions. Using this methodology, campaigns can target well-qualified recipients. CRM can then take this targeted communication to the next level by applying a psychographic segmentation module to determine the preferred marketing vehicle, style, tone, and offer for each campaign recipient.

After the campaigns have been personalized using these tactics, marketers can use the CRM solution to calculate program effectiveness by identifying how much of the revenue or lead generation can be attributed directly to the campaign. This can be calculated by measuring campaign results against a control group that receives no direct marketing outreach, but may have exposure to the organization's other advertising channels. For hospitals, measuring the number of campaign respondents goes beyond determining return on investment (ROI). It demonstrates their ability to provide optimal patient care by encouraging consumers to proactively address health issues.

Healthcare CRM in Action

 A CRM solution's ability to predict the likelihood of patients who will develop health problems, or their likelihood to use specific healthcare services is essential. This allows hospitals to determine, for example, how likely an individual is to develop diabetes based on historical medical records. By identifying diabetes early, care providers can begin immediate treatment of the disease and help reduce the incidence of co-morbidities, such as cardiovascular disease, as well as microvascular disease (e.g., eye, kidney, and nerve damage).

By leveraging CRM data, hospitals can implement customer-specific outreach to educate diagnosed and undiagnosed patients on diabetes or related diseases. For instance, one hospital implemented a three-pronged campaign over a period of three quarters. The first phase involved a variable cover letter and an offer accompanied by collateral from the Center for Diabetes Control. The customized offers included a free glucose screening and a diabetic nutrition class, a $20 diabetes screening test, or a discounted cholesterol check.

The second phase consisted of a digital self-mailer with the same information in a new format for undiagnosed patients, and, for diagnosed patients, a newsletter-style message about weight management that included a free consultation with the hospital's surgical weight management coordinator.

The third and last phase was a repeat message for the undiagnosed patients and an offer for the $20 diabetes screening. The diagnosed patients received another newsletter, but with fresh content on eye care for diabetics and a renewed offer for a cholesterol screening at a reduced cost.

In this example, the hospital saw the following campaign results:

  • 35 incremental patients with a first-ever diabetes diagnosis.
  • 199 incremental patients who used services due to mailings to undiagnosed group.
  • 87 incremental patients who used services due to mailings to patients diagnosed with diabetes.

As this example demonstrates, CRM is a powerful predictive resource that enables healthcare providers to assess their patients' health pathways, determine possible outcomes, and design strategic outreach and intervention programs to improve health and wellness.

To Boldly Go...

The latest advancements in CRM have proven that scientific measurement and analytics of consumer/patient data provides cost-effective, individualized communications that educate and influence consumers/patients to take better care of themselves. For hospitals, this translates into using CRM-based outreach campaigns to help improve patients' health while providing quantifiable ROI, thereby strengthening the bottom line while also serving the healthcare needs of the community.

About the Author

John Hallick (hallick@cpm.com) is president and chief executive officer of CPM Marketing Group, the market leader for healthcare CRM solutions. He is a member of the American Marketing Association and Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and is a recognized speaker on CRM strategies for the healthcare marketing industry.

Please note that the Viewpoints listed in CRM magazine and appearing on destinationCRM.com represent the perspective of the authors, and not necessarily those of the magazine or its editors. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top.
To contact the editors, please email 
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For the rest of the January 2010 issue of CRM magazine please click here.

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To contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com
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