Although around 70% of adults in the US will end up needing long-term care, only 40% have purchased LTC insurance or are planning to, according to a survey.

One of the reasons for this is the lack of proper information for people aged 50 and older about their options. Another is low satisfaction with the services. This signals inherent poor communication between care facilities and their clients. But the time has come for them to up their marketing, sales and patient service game, not only for their own sake but for the sake of patients in need. 

Customer relationship management, or CRM, systems deliver exactly what’s in the name – the enhancement of business-customer interactions. Likewise, medical CRM systems are specifically tuned to facilitate communication between a healthcare facility and its patients, as this kind of relationship differs in many ways from a business-customer one. So, how a can medical CRM can make a difference for long-term care providers?

1.   Personalized patient outreach

For care facilities, customers mean not only patients in care or prospective patients but also their families or legal representatives. Medical CRM can help with this, allowing better segmentation of different client groups, containing promotional and educational resources for each group, and simplifying their distribution. This way, people who don’t have a realistic view of their options regarding long-term care can receive the information they need and become prospective patients.

Medical CRM can help systematize such details as demographics, health conditions, insurance information, etc. about the prospective patients, valuable for the facility’s representatives when following up on the leads, or people potentially interested in care services.

2.   Improved patient satisfaction

For the clients of a long-term care provider, attention and support from the personnel are paramount. Patients have to be sure that their provider understands their unique needs and is prepared to address them, can help choose the proper care plan according to their condition and type of insurance, and will adequately follow up after the discharge. Medical CRM allows care facility personnel to get to know their clients better, thus providing more personalized service and support during their stay and building trust.

When patients and their families feel heard and trust their LTC providers, they are less likely to switch facilities and tend to better adhere to their care professionals’ recommendations. This, in turn, contributes to better health outcomes for patients in their care and their satisfaction with the services.

3.   Valuable data delivered

Knowing exactly which actions attract new leads, at which point they disappear, and why they convert helps long-term care facilities build more effective patient acquisition and retention strategies. Medical CRM can generate reports that comprehensively visualize such information. This can help care providers prevent wasting resources on strategies that don’t work and attract more leads that will convert.

Reports on the satisfaction of the patients in care and the behavior of the discharged patients are also valuable. They help care providers meaningfully improve their services and identify patients that are at risk of readmission and prepare for it in advance.

What to look for in a CRM for LTC

There is a plethora of medical CRMs on the market, meaning each provider can get a solution most suited to their requirements. But for many facilities, the process of picking a system becomes a quest. To choose the medical CRM that will boost your facility’s performance and won’t complicate care personnel’s life, ask yourself the following:

  1. What are my organization’s marketing and sales objectives? Consult your marketing and sales teams and compile a list of the requirements for the CRM.
  2. What are my hardware, software and network resources? Make sure to pick a system that will run well on your hardware and optimally integrate with the software your facility is already using.
  3. What budget do I have for a CRM adoption project? Budget limitations can sometimes be the driving force for choosing a CRM, however, try not to sacrifice too much of your initial requirements to cut implementation costs.
  4. What features should my CRM have? The answer to this question is usually determined by your business and medical objectives, the size of an organization, hardware capabilities, budget and other factors.
  5. Should my CRM be cloud-based or on-premise? Different deployment models have their pros and cons, so make sure to carefully consider them. Cloud-based CRMs are usually cheaper and are easier to recover in case of an emergency. On-premise ones can be customized better and are typically more secure, but have higher upfront costs.

Equipped with the answers to the questions above, a care provider can start contacting vendors and comparing their offers.

A final word

Proper marketing and sales campaigns are key to delivering LTC services to those who require them and creating an opportunity for care providers to grow and develop. Many industries have learned in practice that CRMs can help in such cases, so it’s safe to assume that long-term care organizations will benefit greatly from implementing medical CRMs in their patient relationship workflows.

Inga Shugalo is a healthcare industry analyst at Itransition, a custom software development company headquartered in Denver, CO. She focuses on healthcare IT, highlighting the industry challenges and technology solutions that tackle them.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.