The advent of personal computers came with a shift in the way that healthcare is managed and coordinated. At the most basic level, electronic medical records (EMRs) are used to track patient conditions and document the care that they receive. It sounds appealing, but with the modern trend of patient engagement, EMRs do not adequately improve care outcomes.

Indeed, we must now expand the parameters of the EMR to adequately reduce costs, improve population health, and provide a better care experience. For this, many carers have turned to customer relations management (CRM) solutions. EMRs aren’t going away by any stretch of the imagination, but integration with CRMs can help care organizations coordinate treatment with others and give patients the leeway to monitor and manage their care. These systems have become common in recent years, but they are poised to continue to improve and positively impact healthcare management.

Though it began its existence as a tool for retailers, CRM software is now used in the healthcare community to provide a number of services for carers. Coordination is one of the most important parts of CRM, as it allows the physician referral process to run much smoother between organizations. CRMs generate paperwork and automate many of the processes necessary to make and manage subsequent appointments. With this comes analytics and reporting measures that carers can use in marketing campaigns and the like.

CRM tools also improve patient communications, allowing for regular updates on appointments and the like. As I’ve previously discussed, the key to patient engagement is good communication even outside of the care facility, and CRMs can allow carers to work with patients on ongoing issues such as medication refills, weight loss, and quitting smoking.

So what might CRM systems look like in the future? Healthcare professionals have to evaluate ways that they can make the patient more involved in the care process.

Part of this will be holistic views of patient health. Individuals that understand the state of their own health are more likely to be proactive in solving it, and CRM solutions offer the chance for them to see a complete report, based on information from a variety of carers. Plus, it reduces costs across organizations, ensuring that less duplicate work is completed and that all conditions are considered when making decisions.

That’s where analytics can be particularly useful. Here, they can serve the purpose of assisting with personalized care. If data regarding treatment impacts on different kinds of patients can be collected and searched for patterns, then it can improve and personalize the care that each patient receives. Plus, with the amount of data available for analysis, trends will become increasingly easy to detect, something we’ve already seen with CRM implementation. In contrast, EMR data can be difficult to extract and analyze.

CRM software has already made strides toward streamlining the care process by creating patient portals that act as the sole points of contact for these individuals. Self service portals not only cut down on the lag in contact and update times, but provide a link for patients to contact medical care professionals through video or phone if needed. Patients would also gain access to their own medical information, enabling better coordination and improving transparency.

CRM software is a blessing for both carers and patients. It allows the former to engage in a more efficient manner and track health patterns, and it allows the latter to have better control over the type of experience they receive when seeking care. This software has already done a lot of good when it comes to improving proactive treatment and population health, and giving patients the information to help maintain their own well-being.