“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward,” so said one Pulitzer Prize winner. That statement may never be truer than in modern healthcare.
With the ever-evolving regulations and changes in the healthcare industry, forward-looking organizations need to nurture patient relationships, improve staff efficiency, and expand financial returns. And in reality, isn’t that what scalable healthcare is all about – enabling long term, exponential growth?
That’s where patient relationship management comes into play. Effective relationship management should broaden who health systems can reach, help care teams reach more new patients, and do it more cost-effectively than any other option.
In other words, if your relationship management strategy doesn’t enable these key facets of health care, then it isn’t viable solutions for extended growth. That leaves us asking, how would someone know if patient relationship management isn’t truly scalable?
What prevents health companies from growing?
Let’s compare PRM with a construction project. Whether the end goal is a skyscraper or a doghouse, its long-term stability depends on how resources are used.
The same is true in relationship management. If care teams don’t have their resources in place – right tools and processes – they can inadvertently waste their best assets and hinder scalable care.
Subtracting by Adding
However, wasting resources such as time, finances, and staff strengths, is indicative of bigger problems – problems that teams may try to fix by adding more tools or staffing that don’t fix the underlying issue.
For instance, care teams may struggle to keep up with patient care plans and expectations. Naturally, they might assume they need more staffing. However, without the right processes and programs in place to provide consistent, high-quality engagements, they may still find it difficult to keep up with all their patients no matter how many additional staff members are hired.
On the other hand, if engagement teams are focused on building internal tools instead of on the user experience, they may not be not adding the right tools and technology they need for scalable growth.
Another example is when teams are working with non-optimized, non-integrated tools. Since many of these resources aren’t designed specifically for health care, teams often need more and more tools to fill the management void.
In the end, these makeshift systems won’t be able to support the weight of patient needs and scalable growth. Much like a building with abundant support beams but no foundation, the improvised systems won’t be able to support further growth.
Within care teams and organizations, unscalable patient relationship management can also be traced back to un-unified priorities. Here’s how this can play out.
For one, teams strengths may divide them from really reaching patients. Say, for instance, that a team is strong in technical expertise or clinical expertise. Regardless of their strengths, if they can’t design a strong service delivery and scalable program that meets human needs, the program may inadvertently go different directions…at the same time.
The result? Care teams are reaching patients but not in a unified manner. One care team member may take one action on a patient account, but another team member isn’t in the loop so may either do redundant tasks or may not have the context needed in a patient conversation. Patients get frustrated having to repeat the same information again and again and don’t feel that their care team cares or truly knows them when this scenario occurs.
On the other side, different opinions about organizing a program can also hinder teams from focusing on the patient population. For instance, if too much priority is placed on tools that organize all the processes, patients may get lost in the flow. And that’s unfortunate because those are the very people who are supposed to benefit from patient relationship management.
What’s the problem with this approach?
Inefficient relationship management
As all of these factors accumulate, they inevitably lead to unscalable patient relationship management. Team inefficiency builds up over time and further limits how many patients can be reached. Time spent before and after each patient interaction turns into hours that could be better spent making quality experiences for patients.
Divided priorities can lead to teams and health organizations who can’t seem to make a difference with the patient needs that matter most. For instance, if teams are building internal tools, they’re not developing a patient portal, interactive app, or core technology. In other words, the patient experience might not be getting more scalable even if new tech components are being added to the program. As a result, the care team struggles to keep patient-centric relationship management at the core of their care.
In the end, patients suffer from care teams’ distractions as staff tries to stay on top of patients’ symptoms and progress. Patients may not get the appointment reminders or patient outreach and followups that they need. This breakdown in communication, in turn, can lead to clumsy transitions of care between different staff members and inconsistent patient care reports.
As inefficiencies compound, the result is that growth is unpredictable. To complicate matters, all the variables make it difficult to know where breakdowns are happening. This leads to frustrations for patients, lower patient retention, and unstable revenue streams. Patients slip through the cracks either because they aren’t receiving regular followups from their clinician and stop making progress or because the care team struggles to keep track which patients to prioritize.
What’s the solution?
Health organizations need health IT solutions that will keep their care teams on the same page. But beyond that, they also need easily customizable platforms that help teams tailor-make their workflow and ensure consistent patient experiences.
That’s where Welkin comes in. Our software allows teams to easily optimize workflow by adjusting the program without needing to use code. This means teams don’t have to be tech-gurus to create efficient patient engagement processes. Program directors and care team members simply go into our hands-on Workshop to design a workflow that fits their unique program and needs. In Workshop, directors can customize actions, set up automations, and create workflows that ensure no patients slip through the cracks.
Customizable patient communication
Plus, since Welkin is a firm believer in automation done right, our software enables teams to choose which processes to computerize, such as post-call emails or surveys. In this way, teams can avoid alert fatigue while still receiving the notifications they need the most. Communication can happen in the channels that are most convenient and accessible for the patient to help overcome barriers to access.
Integrations that work for you
Care teams can also pipe in data to their program from just about any outside tool, like medical records or EHRs, without subtracting from efficiency. These customizable integrations help care team members stay on the same page without having to hop between tools, reducing tool fatigue and manual errors that occur as a result of manual data entry and redundant tools.
PRM insights and data
Welkin specializes in helping teams build a unified infrastructure that optimizes patient engagement and uses data to prove program efficacy. Program directors have access to useful real-time data via patient-reported outcomes and staff analytics, allowing them to see where breakdowns may be occurring within the workflow. This data also helps them show to partners that the program works and improves patient health outcomes.
Improved patient interactions
As care managers use their PRM software to communicate with patients on their preferred channels such as social media messaging, text, or smartphone apps, patients will experience health care in ways that are convenient and accessible to them.
Improved patient satisfaction
Similar to companies who use customer relationship management software to improve customer engagement and satisfaction, healthcare organizations will begin to see improved patient satisfaction. Care teams will be enabled to offer personalized support to patients, and patients will have the support they need to progress toward their health goals and see real health outcomes.
Better health outcomes
By using automation, care teams can streamline the collection of data that used to be difficult to gather such as patient-reported outcomes like weight change, exercise, or changes in pain levels. Care teams can use this data to pinpoint what interactions patients need to help them improve these outcomes and see real change.
Ready to learn more ways that a PRM solution can help you scale your healthcare organization?