Customer relations management (CRM) is software that uses information technology to help organizations build customer relationships and increase the value of the goods and/or services it provides. The advantages of CRM include tracking and documenting customer history with instant access to those records, determining the best-selling practices for the organization and analyzing reasons behind customer complaints.
A medical office benefits from the CRM techniques in a variety of ways. First, gathering complete patient history along with recording every subsequent office, lab and radiology visit allows CRM to track, document and monitor the patient’s information. Physicians access patient information instantly, enabling effective health care for the patient. Correct diagnoses facilitate prescriptions, tests and/or procedures for the patient’s care.
Secondly, future occasions of communication with the patient, including phone calls, visits and surveys, are documented and recorded in the CRM. The CRM monitors the information and suggests support and service practices for the medical office to consider for improving patient relations. In addition, by responding to the patient’s needs and creating improvements with business practices and services, the medical office effectively attains its performance goals.
Although CRM helps the medical office staff improve patient relationships, ultimately, effective communication is required for formulating the correct diagnoses and care.
Ineffective communication within a medical office however, creates a number of dangers for the medical office and its patients. CRM offers recommendations based on the input of complete and detailed patient history. The patient needs to feel he can disclose all pertinent information to the nurse or physician, without judgment. In addition, the physician needs to create an atmosphere where the patient has no inhibitions expressing his concerns, problems and symptoms. If the patient feels embarrassed or ashamed of disclosing all information, the physician is unable to properly treat his problem. Ineffective communication results in the possibility of the patient being misdiagnosed and/or receiving incorrect medication.
Problems occur with ineffective communication among the office staff also. If an administrative assistant receives incorrect information from a nurse regarding future appointments, the patient may be scheduled for a follow-up rather than a procedure with the physician. The nurse gives the patient specific instructions, for example, stopping blood pressure medication ten days prior to the procedure. Because being off the blood pressure medicine is dangerous for the patient, he waits several weeks until he is able to go off the medication again and further delays the procedure. In addition, the appointment, certified incorrectly for a follow-up with his insurance requires additional time to re-certify the procedure. The certification process takes hours or days depending upon the type of procedure and insurance coverage. These problems, due to ineffective communication, cause the patient to suffer longer than necessary and cost the medical office in wasted time and money.
The CRM is an important and effective tool for the medical office. However, it relies on effective communication among the medical staff members and patients in order to offer the medical office assistance with improving patient relationships as well as the value of its services.