Laura Clemons

How a Robust CRM Strategy Can Streamline Patient Communications

by Laura Clemons | Jun 24, 2021

You’d think that getting a patient scheduled for an MRI would be a pretty straightforward path.

But for a long time at AdventHealth, it was a maze-like, uncoordinated process that involved a lot of phone calls — and a lot of hassle.

Previously, if a patient needed an MRI at AdventHealth, someone from the hospital would attempt to reach the patient between five and 12 times to get everything set up. These calls would involve scheduling, pre-registration, check-in, payment information and appointment reminders. Nothing was coordinated between departments and everything was done by phone.

But that all changed once the hospital started using its CRM with its contact center operations to create a streamlined consumer experience. This new strategy has helped support patient referrals, appointment scheduling and introduced texting options to patients.

At a recent Contact Experience Conference (CEC), Tony George, vice president of consumer experience center at AdventHealth, and Jennifer Gingrass, principal at ECG Management Consultants, spoke about the partnership between the two organizations when it comes to this new approach.

“I don’t know about you, but I’d be annoyed with the lack of coordination if all I wanted was to get an MRI,” Gingrass says. “It’s really important to make sure you have the right tools in place to streamline the communications you’re having with the patient.”

George and his hospital team agreed. Now, it’s an entirely different process. If a patient receives an MRI order from a physician, someone from the hospital reaches out between two and six times to get everything set up.

The communications start with a simple text message, letting the patient know that the hospital got the order and will be contacting them soon to schedule an appointment. Next, someone from the hospital reaches out by phone or text (whichever the patient prefers) to schedule the appointment. Then, once the MRI is scheduled, there’s a bundled messaging of the COVID-19 screening, appointment registration and registration reminder that all go out five days before the MRI. An hour before the appointment, a patient receives an appointment reminder to check in for the appointment.

“When you think about all the touchpoints we were doing before, we were trying to be consumer-friendly, but we were overreaching,” George says.

To stop the overreach, the hospital had to get a handle on its CRM. Here’s how the hospital did just that:

  • Choose the right vendor. “Contact centers use a lot of technology, but just because a vendor bundles up a package, that doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for you,” George says. “Be selective when choosing a service and think about how you might be able to pair products together from various vendors.”
  • Think about average call handle time. “Time on the phone tends to creep up quickly when a call agent is having to do multiple applications on one call,” George says. “You want to do your best to consolidate all your tools.”
  • Your CRM might cause employee turnover. “Employees tend to leave after 90 days if there are more than 10 different applications within a CRM that they don’t feel like they can be successful at learning,” George says.

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