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    As a state licensed life, P&C and health insurance agent; and dual SEC registered investment advisor and representative, Marcinko was Founding Dean of the fiduciary and niche focused CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER® chartered professional designation education program; as well as Chief Editor of the three print format HEALTH DICTIONARY SERIES® and online Wiki Project.

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Emerging Patient Collaborative Marketing Trends

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On Patient Acquisition and Patient Retention [PRM]

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

By Hope Rachel Hetico RN MHA CMP™

David and HopeGiven today’s economic and political environment, with its’ increasing competitive pressures, medical practices are focused more-than-ever on patient acquisition and patient retention. Modern medical practices are teaming together to offer comprehensive end-to-end solutions [patient relations management].

If you are partnering with other healthcare organizations to pool in your expertise, offer joint solutions and take up joint medical marketing and patient communications programs, be careful how you execute and about what you agree with your partners on sharing patient databases.

It is advisable to formulate a simple and clear privacy policy and adhere to that in the partnership agreements. Comply with the policy at all patient touch points. Communicate this very clearly with your partners and patients prominently in all your channels of communication. Inventory your data collection processes and gateways. Select appropriate projects to add security to your data across extended networks and partners.

Note there is no silver bullet to protect the privacy. Privacy compliance is as much a business issue as it is a technical issue, sometimes more so.

Implications for Patient Strategies

While you are formulating and implementing privacy policies; you need to address the following questions:

  • Do your patients respond to your practice’s privacy strategy?

It is not enough to have a privacy policy that is so confidential no one is aware of that. It is imperative for practices, once they implement their privacy strategies, to understand how patients are responding and loop the feedback to fine-tune policies accordingly.

  • How do you consider the impact on the patient from every privacy decision you make?

Every privacy decision made will impact the patient and your practice; but to what extent? How do you determine this impact? Some of them will be patient-facing and some will be in the back–end.

This step is essential so that you can make appropriate decisions and make optimum usage of resources:

  • Will your medical practice operations support the privacy initiative?

Privacy enablement requires resources and training with perhaps no immediate, apparent short-term value-add to the top-line or bottom-line.

Medical practices that take a proactive view of privacy enablement as cost of doing business in the 21st century will benefit. Practices still need to adopt critical processes and technology that agree with their resources and gradually privacy enable in an incremental way.

Role of Technology

There is no technology silver bullet. Privacy enabling a practice is composed of elements of company loyalty towards patients, commitment to build long lasting and profitable patient management by building trust, and engaging cross-functional teams that can pick and deploy suitable data security across the network.

Here are some salient steps for secure data management that affect technology choices of any medical practice:

  • Privacy and compliant database development – healthcare organizations have to “listen” and record what patients are saying, and if and how they prefer to be contacted, or not at all. All  these details will have to be stored in a secure database, which is regularly refreshed with the outcome of practice communications with patient. This will be the central repository that the office draws upon to design and execute consistent and privacy enabled patient communications.
  • Protect the data across the practice, from group to group, area to area, or from network to network. It is not enough for a medical practice to protect data from external intruders, but also from internal data abusers. It is not enough that patient data is secure during transmission at the patient touch point. It also needs to be safe where it is stored. It is not unusual to have patient data stored or lying around where it is accessible by internal intruders. Therefore it is imperative for medical practices to go beyond traditional firewalls to have multi-layered security at the data level.

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On Physician Relations Management [PRM] Technology

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Criteria for Selection

By Dr. Gary L. Bode MSA, CPA, LLC

Both research and experience reveals an often confusing, complicated world of claims, features, and upgrades, a wide array of technical architectures, and an even wider array of pricing structures when it comes to choosing Physician [Customer] Relations Management [PRM] software.

For me – as a medical practice management consultant – critical criteria for selection includes the following features.

Scalability:

In a young medical practice, a scalable marketing program and PRM infrastructure should be flexible enough to accommodate specialty trends effortlessly and seamlessly without crushing your marketing infrastructure or its’ people, patients or processes. A scalable PRM infrastructure should allow a new channel, a new patient segment, a medical product or service-line seamlessly and with minimum incremental effort or cost.

Interoperability:

You may need an authoring tool today to develop your collateral data, and so select a simple MSFT Word® program. Later, you may want to conduct campaigns to re-introduce your practice or gauge satisfaction among current patients through an online survey. The software you build or purchase for individual activities should be able to co-exist and talk to each other. The software you purchase does not have to be monolithic, but it needs to be modular and work together incrementally.

For example, your e-mail campaign software, CPOESs [computerized physician order entry systems] and e-prescribing functions should work with your authoring tools and eMR.

In today’s complex and fast paced evolution of PRM products, newer technologies need to co-exist with older legacy technologies, and futuristic eMR systems; so interoperability is one of the critical criteria for PRM technology selection.

Ease of Use:

As a young medical practice, pulled in different directions, it is important to have a PRM solution that is easy to use and does not necessitate extensive user training.

Cost structure:

Remember, all PRM software comes with obvious costs as well as hidden costs. Ask the right questions and find out the hidden costs for systems implementation, integration and user training.

Assessment

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Building a Meaningful Medical Practice Marketing Campaign

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What it Is – How it Works

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP™]

[By DeeVee Devarakonda MBA]

The success of a knowledge driven healthcare organization depends on not only how data can be converted to information – and information into marketing insight – but also by acting upon and converting those insights into building meaningful patient acquisition campaigns.

Definition of Patient Recruitment

Patient recruitment or campaign managementis the process of designing, executing, and measuring marketing campaigns through the use of applications that help to:

  • Select and segment patients
  • Design campaigns and execute the campaigns to contact patients
  • Track the contacts made with patients
  • Measure the results of those contacts
  • Learn from these results to more efficiently target patients in the future.

Key Queries

Some key questions to ask while you build campaigns:

  • Do you have a Customer [Patient] Relations Management roadmap that fits in with your overall patient vision and strategies and outlines the course of action for campaign management?
  • What is your privacy policy and strategy? – It is imperative for healthcare organizations to be proactive and self-regulate with a coherent privacy policy and design their systems to comply with this strategy. This may affect the way you design and execute campaigns.
  • What tools should you use? – There are several campaign management tools available today but no one tool may solve all business problems. You need to decide: what works best for my technical/ business environment? Is any integration effort required, if yes, how much will it cost me? How user-friendly are the tools? How much should I invest in training?

Important Campaign Components

Critical components of campaign management include the following activities:

  • Patient Segmentation: Process of identifying groups of patients for better targeting marketing and communications efforts. Segmentation is critical for effective and intelligent one on one communications with your patient.
  1. Ensure your data quality is excellent which can give you meaningful segmentation.
  2. Consistency of treatments and processes are of paramount importance.
  3. Buying a software tool is not enough for effective segmentation. You also need to understand what the software tool does in the backend. Watch out for anomalies and take steps to make reparations.
  4. Make sure you administer the initiative to a small sample and the business rules are in place before you roll out your campaign to the larger group.
  • Personalization: Ability to customize your product/service to each patient:
  1. Good personalization is possible especially when you have a good patient past history.
  2. You also need to have all business rules in place for effective personalization.
  3. Ensure your patient data is of high quality (e.g. addressing a female patient as a Mr. or sending mails to sign up for your service to a person who is already your patient can defeat the purpose of personalization)
  4. If you model data before personalization, you can target more effectively and personalize.
  5. It pays to have a clear privacy policy and ensure your personalization philosophies are in tune with that policy.
  • Execution – Actual implementation of your marketing programs and messages
  1. Before you execute, ensure you are equipped to fulfill promises you are making in the campaigns (e.g. If you are printing a toll free phone number in your direct mail piece for your patients to use, that toll free telephone number should work)
  2. Make sure your sales and service channels are aware of the campaigns and publish a general calendar for the whole company
  3. Develop business rules and strategies for follow-up campaigns.

Learn more: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

The Mindset

Successful patient marketing campaigns begin with the proper mindset and practice culture. There is no technology silver bullet to any P[C]RM campaign. And today, patient privacy is the key element of loyalty with a commitment to build long lasting and profitable campaigns through mutual trust and engaging cross-functional teams that can pick and deploy the elements mentioned above, across the entire enterprise and IT network, as needed.

Assessment

Healthcare organizations should keep privacy and the above components as their laundry list of action items when considering a C(P)RM plan.

Conclusion

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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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Patient Relations Management and Concierge Medicine

Characteristics of a Retainer or Cash-Based Practice

By DeeVee Devarakonda; MBA [Former CMO of Quaero, Inc]

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

Calendar CalculatorDEFINITION: https://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Health-Insurance-Managed-Care/dp/0826149944/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275315485&sr=1-4

A young concierge medical practice is a business with challenges in these Customer [Patient] Relationship Management’s [CRM] areas that are critical for success.

Areas of Most Challenge

Maturity of Processes:

Processes are often associated with bureaucracy or stuffy hierarchical healthcare systems that are anathema to emerging concierge medical practices. At small practices, doctors are often owners who fiercely pride themselves on flat structures, autonomy and flexibility. However, processes are imperative to conduct a streamlined practice that can be woven around a CM culture that still ensures practice business is conducted in a systematic manner.

Organization Structure:

Young concierge medical practices have challenges managing growth while grappling to incorporate an organization structure that promotes the elite private practice culture.

Multi-tasking, rapidly growing work places:

Young CM practices are often characterized by employees who multi-task and assume several roles to make their resources stretch farther. Especially in the current healthcare reform climate, young practice employees take up a broader set of responsibilities. In addition, as young private CM practices grow, they may become anguished with a growing office workplace that may not be equipped with an evolving infrastructure to cope. They have a fierce need to carefully control growth with tightly managed resources.

Changing business needs and strategy:

In an era after the golden age of traditional medicine, profitability is critical for emerging concierge practices. It is imperative to be nimble and change marketing strategies as socio-political and competitive climates dictate. A good C[P] RM system is tightly integrated, but loosely coupled, to allow CM practices to communicate appropriately with patients.

Little room for Slack:

Small concierge medical practices do not have as much established name-brand equity as larger, established practices of any model type, and patients are less willing to tolerate mistakes. Concierge practices have to run a much tighter ship and build impeccable patient experiences.

Fierce Competition:

The cash or retainer medicine landscape today looks very different from just five years ago. Competition is becoming fierce and practices are fighting for mindshare and patients. Young practices are competing with older concierge practices – large traditional practices, micro-practices, behemoth healthcare systems, enterprise-wide medical corporations and every other practice model in-between – to attract and retain patients with private resources.

Assessment

The above characteristics form the basis of a compelling strategy to embrace C[P]RM and streamline patient relationships and cash revenue opportunities. Concierge practices still need to build scalable marketing programs that can easily ramp up and down effortlessly as needs and economic environments demand. But, they do need to establish marketing metrics and processes that can demonstrate the Return on Investment (ROI) on their CRM, and marketing programs, and for getting critical cash-paying patient buy-in.

Related link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/defining-and-understanding-%e2%80%9cboutique-medicine%e2%80%9d/

MORE: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2009/10/30/return-on-investment-calculations-for-concierge-medical-practice-marketing-initiatives/

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