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CRM Considerations for a Health 2.0 Medical Practice

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The Build vs. Buy vs. Outsource Conundrum

By DeeVee Devarakonda MBA

There are several options to build, buy or outsource a medical practice Customer Resource Management infrastructure. And, there are advantages and disadvantages to all three options. I will review all three for our ME-P readers. 

Build:

Rapid technology advances are transforming the business landscape. This makes it very challenging for healthcare organizations to keep abreast of the technologies, to train and manage resources on tools, to grapple with cross-functional, cross-departmental dynamics and build the CRM application. In addition mergers/ acquisitions and other market realities can make CRM operations complex and distract healthcare organizations from delivering excellent patient experience.

It is very tempting for small healthcare organizations to think they can develop what they need in-house themselves. May be May be not. It is very essential to stay focused on your main business and see if the solution is available elsewhere. Figure out if you are in the business of whatever you are doing or let us say in the business to develop patient survey tool or a low-end database. It is best to get outside help wherever you are dealing with an initiative/ task that is not your core competence or where it is to your strategic advantage- be it time-to-value or cost savings.

Buy:

Depending on your business needs you can either buy CRM package solution and implement or build best of breed solutions that are suited to your business needs. You need to pay very close attention to what the software vendors are promising. Naturally they will be more interested in making the sale, than advising on whether it integrates well with your existing technologies, so the onus is on you as a buyer to ask the right questions and make appropriate purchases.

Outsource:

Especially for very young healthcare organizations today, outsourcing can be an option worth exploring to de-risk technology decisions. Outsourcing de-risks marketing program – avoids unnecessary, upfront, massive capital investment and will also equip the marketers with the flexibility to ramp up or down as situation demands. Outsourcing does not mean healthcare organizations can wash their hands off the CRM function. Still it is the business that will have to provide the strategic direction and control the CRM process and outcome. There are also Application Service Provider (ASP) solutions which de-risk technology decisions.

Assessment

One of the attractions of going the hosted route becomes very clear when you have a two doctor practice marketing medical services that require 24×7 availability of information, transaction and service. They have attractive pricing that encourage “pay as you go” paradigm which is of enormous help to young businesses. However, the disadvantages of an ASP [SaaS] are: 1) you can’t integrate with your other enterprise systems for patient 360-degree view 2) you can’t customize to reflect your exact needs 3) you can’t work offline, which can be a disadvantage if you are a mobile “new-wave” medical practice.

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