I’m sitting here, on my couch in San Diego, in disbelief. I’m looking at a medical bill that I just received — 18 months after my spinal procedure — from a Surgical Center that I’ve never been to. What is a “22853.8 – insertion of interbody biome”? Why am I receiving a bill for it?
I turn to the internet. Google search results are lacking; I wonder if I’ll need to find answers the old-fashioned way, with library books, or have someone fax me (does anyone still own a fax machine?)… This thought leads me to Amazon; which informs me I could have a fax machine shipped here same-day — and suggests I add milk to that order (because Amazon knows I’m out). Thank you, Amazon. Now that’s customer service…
But, let’s get back to my medical bill. I needed spinal surgery. It turns out 40-year-old men should not be downhill mountain biking at 35 mph or jumping 10 feet in the air at Whistler Bike Park if they have a genetic predisposition to spinal compression.
For my spinal procedure, I chose a provider for his clinical prowess, medical training, and because I just plain liked the guy (which may or may not be important, as he was about to be millimeters from my spinal cord with a chisel, but it couldn’t hurt). The bill in my hand wasn’t from him.
After phone calls to the physician’s office, the billing company, and my insurance company; a well-crafted email; and then a few heated phone calls (which all feel like a waste of my time), I discover my surgeon had an assisting surgeon. This bill is from him. And I’ve never met the guy — at least, not while I was awake.
Hence, the genesis of this post. I’ve read plenty of blog posts about the patient experience, and I don’t expect to fix all of our healthcare problems with this article, but this is a call to action. Technology isn’t a panacea for all that ails our healthcare delivery system, and neither is “better data” or “better processes” if they aren’t outcome focused. We must tie all three together — technology, data, and process — to focus on the patient experience, measure it and improve it.
Why You Need to Prioritize Patient Experience
Your competitive edge and the viability of your business depend on your ability to stitch together technology, data and processes to be fanatically focused on the experiences of your customers!
These digital and analog experiences can be as meaningful as you design and build them to be. And I’d do it fast — your competitors are! Patient satisfaction is tied more and more to your reimbursements. You have to earn their business. Over and over again.
Patients expect more. They are not satisfied with fragmented, siloed, or slow-moving health services. They know technology can transform their experience, and they want to see it used. We’re not just talking about young people (or overly optimistic spry 40-something’s like me) — a DuetHealth survey found 89% of patients aged 55 and older said they want to manage their own healthcare and will need technology access to do so. Additionally, 35% of those senior patients felt their health plans don’t adequately leverage health technology.
Our patients demand it. I demand it. As a patient, I deserve better. YOUR patients deserve better. Every. Single. One.
But, I’m not going to complain without proposing a solution. So let me share something I’m excited about, that I’ve seen work, that could have prevented my situation with an unexpected medical bill. And it’s something I’ve personally spent a lot of time talking through with our customers.
Improving the Patient Experience with Salesforce Health Cloud
We have the technological maturity in our critical systems — EHR, CRM, WCM, MarTech, Social, Middleware/ESB, Cloud storage/computing, Data warehousing, AI/ML tools. We have the data. We have the processes. Let’s put it all together!
Salesforce Health Cloud has been top-ranked as a healthcare CRM. The software aims to put patients at the heart of every decision, strengthening relationships and improving outcomes. I’ve helped businesses like yours implement and use Health Cloud to enable their staff with tools to deliver a better patient experience. You can use this software to weave together all of your technology tools, removing data silos, enabling home services, and leveraging data from multiple sources to improve your quality of care.
Here are a few ways Salesforce Health Cloud can positively impact your patient experience:
1. Improve the Continuity of Care
Now, I admit that I’m lucky. I am reasonably healthy with no chronic conditions. After my injury, I was in and out of the hospital fairly quickly (my left forefinger is still 25% numb, but hey, that’s way better than prior to surgery when it was 75% numb).
What about those who aren’t as lucky? What about the aging population and those dealing with chronic diseases?
Being sick is tiring and stressful, and when your patients are already feeling low, nothing is worse than having to repeatedly provide the same information during their hospital stay. This is not only exhausting, but can also erode patient confidence in a healthcare provider. Your patients may wonder: Didn’t I already tell someone this information? Why isn’t my healthcare team communicating with each other? Are they truly capable of treating me?
Salesforce Health Cloud aims to eliminate data silos, ensuring every member of a patient’s care team has access to the same electronic health records (EHR). This not only betters the patient experience, but also saves healthcare providers precious time. Providing the healthcare team with comprehensive patient data — including health conditions and medications, appointment history, and caregiver information — can make patient consultations much more efficient and eliminate much of the risk of human error.
Health Cloud is designed to do all of this while also meeting HIPAA/HITRUST and other certification and regulatory standards. This cloud software provides a complete view of the patient and can even integrate data from medical devices to provide a 360-degree, coordinated view of your patients and their health.
2. Offer Coordinated Home Care and Telehealth Services
I haven’t been back for my follow-up. Maybe that makes me a bad patient, but I didn’t see the value. Do I need an X-ray, MRI, or perhaps a CT? Honestly, I don’t know — no one told me what to do next. But someone did hand me an appointment card, which I promptly threw away on the principle that “If they want my business, they’ll call me.” (They didn’t.)
Trips to the doctor’s office often feel like a hassle. If my doctor does need to follow up on my recovery, I’d be happier to simply update him over the phone. Home care and telehealth services save time, money, and energy for both patients and medical caregivers — without any decrease in quality of care. Health Cloud helps you bring these convenient services to your patients.
Home monitoring tools, such as digital scales, can easily relay information back to your team following a patient’s treatment. For patients with mobility issues, video conferencing also allows a safer, more accessible way for doctors to follow up. The Health Cloud platform enables you to leverage services that patients can access from the comfort of their homes.
Healthcare providers that have started employing technology to offer these types of health services at home have seen patient satisfaction go up — and readmission rates go down.
3. Analyze Larger Patient Data Sets
What percentage of your digital footprint — of who you are, what you like, your diet, hobbies — culminates from the 15 minutes you spend in an appointment that your doctor was 20 minutes late for? I bet it’s next to zero.
As a medical professional, you gather EHR data from 15 minutes a patient spends in your office; but most of it is a cut and paste from previous visits or the intake form they filled out for the fifth time. Then, there is everything else that happens outside the four walls of the hospital. Health Cloud helps you pull all of your patient data together to gain actionable insights.
One breast cancer study used the Salesforce platform to manage the electronic records of 100,000 women and analyze these records in order to inform their treatment. As the doctor in charge of that study put it, “a study of such magnitude would not have been possible without automation.” Health Cloud allowed the team to record voluminous amounts of patient history and medical profiles and keep track of personalized insights, as well as follow these patients over time. Imagine the physician’s interaction with the woman who slipped through the cracks of the traditional system. Can you see the gratitude on her face, knowing that her life was saved by innovation and by pushing against the status quo?
As your healthcare staff builds EHR databases, continually adding to patient data, the Health Cloud system can use complex data ETL processes to collect, analyze, identify patient risk factors and initiate an action, send a text message or email with targeted content for patient education, available appointments, etc. — all without any human intervention. Of course, you’ll need human interaction eventually, but why not spend human resources on the things that matter!
Elevate Your Patient Experience to Elevate Your Business
These are just three examples that scratch the surface of what’s possible when you tie together technology, data and process. Salesforce isn’t a fit for every challenge in our healthcare delivery system, but you owe it to your patients to explore what this platform can do. Remove the barriers, free your data, innovate and focus on outcomes!
I know this post is a little tongue in cheek; and I hope you can appreciate the humor in my observations. Unfortunately, I can’t choose a surgeon based upon his use of CRM (yet) but I have chosen doctors based upon use of an EHR vs. paper charts. Perhaps someday, CRM will be as ubiquitous and contributive to measuring patient experience and satisfaction score as EHR is to documenting my blood pressure.
A final note: As I edit this, preparing to post, I received a call from the billing company. The charges are being written off. A small victory for me, but let’s commit to fixing this together to do it right the first time! The doctor should have been paid for his time and the billing company should have been paid for theirs. Until then, I have the remaining 25% of the feeling in my finger to look forward to… someday.
To learn more about Salesforce Health Cloud and how it can work for your business, contact the expert team at RelationEdge. As a full-service Salesforce Platinum Consulting Partner, our skilled team can advise you every step of the way, from understanding your business process and goals, to choosing the solution that fits, to implementing and customizing the platform for your exact needs. Contact us today.