Your EHR is not enough


  • Charles T. Folsom Jr. MSHA, BSN, RN, PMP, Chief Executive Officer at IAMNURSE, L.L.C.
  • Reagan Judd, CEO & Co-founder at Runner
  • Lance Folske, Senior Vice President of Operations at Sun Behavioral Health
  • John Wagner, Chief Operating Officer at Vertava Health
  • Nikhil Parwal, Business Head, Healthcare LeadSquared

Key Takeaways:

  • The webinar helps you understand the limitations of standalone EHR.
  • The significance of CRM-EHR integration in bettering healthcare delivery cannot be overstated.
  • Interoperability can save lives!
  • Automation plays a critical role in CRM-EHR integrated healthcare and leads acquisition.
  • Many helpful tools can be integrated into CRM for better care of patients and lead nurturing.

Watch the recording here:

No matter the sector,  be it “cold calling” or “email bombing,” neither are the lead generation and engagement tools acceptable to modern-day clients. 

None of us bother taking up anonymous phone calls or checking out our spam email folders, do we?

Conventional ways of reaching relevant audiences are dying out as customers seek more interactive, unified solutions to address their pain points. 

On-the-go dispute resolution, meeting scheduling, reminders, and all for patients are the need of the hour. Likewise, providers can benefit from unified lead tracking, customer retention, marketing analytics, etc., to shape the future of their businesses and services.

The usage of EMR and EHR platforms, although still helpful to some extent, is no longer enough. As of now, healthcare providers need client-centric software solutions that can integrate every step of a customer journey and provide convenient solutions. Healthcare CRM software can seamlessly integrate with EHR,  EMR, and patient management software systems and deliver patient-centered healthcare.

Throwing open the webinar for discussion, Nikhil Parwal raised some much-needed questions to the panel:

“How do we provide a more seamless lead capture and appointment scheduling?

How do we ensure this can be shared with the backend EHR platform? 

How can systems talk to each other using technology?” 

He further explains how CRM is the ultimate solution to the healthcare industry’s current limitations and operational inefficiencies. 

He pointed out that CRM can be well integrated with different platforms and solutions to bring about that end-to-end unified experience. 

Any healthcare provider can easily integrate CRM with their EHR/EMR platforms, billing systems, marketing tools, practice management, and patient management systems. 

There’s a lot CRM can help you achieve and streamline in operational, marketing, or non-clinical spheres, instead of cluttering your EHR with a lot of unnecessary, non-clinical medical information.

A clean EHR makes it easier for doctors to look up patients’ medical info and medical history and suggest prescriptions and further steps based on a detailed diagnosis instead of superficially prescribing medications.

Your EHR is not enough

Why is EHR Not Enough?

An experienced panelist, John Wagner, shared his wisdom with the audience as he spoke about his experience with EHR systems, their limitations, and how CRM can change that.

Most EHRs are strictly designed for one function, which could be HIPAA-compliant patient documentation, visit notes, the care being provided for the patient, etc. 

If you’ve got a really good system, it is also generally good for billing. Still, many functions that now EHR vendors are trying to add to their CRM systems aren’t robust enough to help an organization manage all the different data elements. 

Appointment vs admission infograhics

Fully HIPAA-compliant CRM for safeguarding patient information

Posing some critical questions that only medical CRMs can account for, John Wagner asks,

“How do you nurture patients?

What type of patients are calling you?

How many patients do you turn away?

What business are you turning away when people call?

What are you tracking?”

Tracking all this information helps you to specialize your marketing and focus in those areas so that you’re truly getting the market niche that you’re providing and you’re able to get those patients into care.

As a provider, you need to start caring for your patients, generating revenue, building and growing your business, and making the most out of these “growth avenues.”

John Keelier, while seconding the former panelist, points out that having a CRM system won’t do you any good if it’s not set up correctly. If your CRM isn’t configured in the right way or it’s not integrated in the right way, you still may be doing a lot of things manually that you don’t have to. He also throws open a poll for the audience to choose their options to understand the dynamics of the webinar better.

CRM usage statistics

Challenges with EHR and the Significance of EHR-CRM Integration

Having experience with enterprise-like EHR integrations, Charles emphasizes the limitations of EHR and EMR systems and how EHR-CRM can pave the way for feature-rich, patient-centered systems.

There’s no follow-up and communications capability in EHR, but CRM allows you to do so. It gives you the capacity to build customizable conversations and profiles on patients.

The EHR has all the useful data but is of no benefit unless easily accessible. You can build dashboards and patient journeys via patient journey mapping CRMs.

Real-time reminders and milestone alerts can be sent to patients to help them reach their respective health goals.

Centralized CRM

Healthcare CRM provides pre-built interfaces with applications that improve your practice’s productivity.

“Let’s do our second poll,” says John Wagner. It’s to understand the limitations of EHR systems better.

EHR limitation statistics

How Interoperability is the Biggest Limitation of EHR?

This webinar section briefly focuses on the need for interoperability and the lack of it in EHR.

Charles shares an example, “In emergency rooms, patients show up, they have a chief complaint, right? I know nothing about the patient’s history, right? A patient might have a history of renal failure or heart disease, but in many cases, the treatment we give them will harm them if I don’t have a history.”

Access to all the critical patient-related info and customization of treatment interventions are pivotal to saving patients’ lives.

Losing any precious life due to a lack of medical information shouldn’t be a 21st-century problem and needs speedy eradication. Medical CRM is the answer to bringing interoperability to medical facilities.

Adding Modular Tools to Your Existing EHR is Not CRM

Agreeing with Charles on interoperability, Charles Wagner adds why it isn’t feasible or sufficient to develop your patient management system module by module.

Integrating BI and analytics tools with EHR is not the final solution. You may eventually get the functions of CRM, but what good are those functions if there’s no system in place to process or display that information in a way that makes sense to you or your patient?

And regarding marketing, in-house modular CRM tools have been lackluster. They offer you no way to monitor the performance of your advertising campaigns and lead generation initiatives, online or offline.

There’s zero transparency on how hard your marketing team is working to drive sales or how much time each of your sales reps spends on making your business visible to the crowd.

John Wagner says, If I’m spending a million dollars in advertising a year and getting ten patients, that’s not great. From spending a million dollars a year and getting a million patients. That’s fantastic, right?”

You can’t know all of the sales-related metrics unless you have a tool in a system that can manage all those different avenues and aspects of it. Only a robust, feature-rich CRM can handle all the granular metrics and feed you actionable insights.

Charles adds a few more benefits of CRM that no other system can provide.

CRM empowers a patient by bringing healthcare services to their fingerprints. Having quick access to your medical progress and being able to send requests in real-time makes you feel a lot better. A working feedback loop keeping in touch with the patient can do wonders for the patient and the provider.

Benefits of CRM-EHR Integration

Both John Keelier and Charles have experience in CRM concerning marketing and healthcare, respectively, and discuss the various benefits that healthcare CRMs offer.

CRM is generally a part of marketing. It’s an engine that can power a lot of the marketing that we do and the idea of personalization.

Personalization and communication motivate people. It motivates existing patients, in terms of adherence and a potential lead, in terms of understanding the urgency of getting treatment. CRM always works better when it’s more personalized.

The main benefits of healthcare CRM-EHR integration highlighted in the seminar include the following:

  • Healthcare marketing automation
  • Personalized communication
  • Capacity to build patient profiles based on diseases or a condition
  • Timely automated reminders
  • Patient journey mapping
  • Educate, follow up, and predict
  • Transparency with respect to a patient’s health condition
  • Analysis of cost per acquisition
  • Spending details across different areas

John Wagner adds that CRM has allowed them to filter down their marketing data up to the grassroots level. It includes everything from knowing where leads are coming from to which category of patients are actually interested in their services. Every bit of marketing data can be filtered per call, email, lead, conversion, etc. Location-related data can also help narrow down leads and better understand your strong zones.

LeadSquared: Smart View Dashboard

Automatically assign activities and provide follow-up notifications to your staff.

Key KPIs for Healthcare a CRM to Monitor

Bringing to light the topic of KPIs, an important part of CRM, John Keelier calls out John Wagner to throw some light on important KPIs.

As per John Keelier, lead to Office Visit KPI is the most impactful one. It’s essentially a measurement of how well your front office or a healthcare call center is getting leads scheduled.

For John Wagner, the most impactful KPIs include:

  • New leads to admission
  • Speed of conversion
  • Location-based goals

KPIs give you the visibility to understand your loopholes and work on fixing them.

If you’re not focused on getting that new patient leads to an office visit or to an admission, it’s either a people problem or a process problem.

There are a tremendous number of dashboards that can be tracked daily to obtain meaningful data for finding out and fixing the exact problem.

John Keelier urges Charles to add info about insights, KPI for reporting, and related data.

Charles mentions a few KPIs they track for clinics and emergency departments, such as

  • Door-to-doctor time
  • Door-to-drug time for MRIs and strokes

Door-to-room time

Intake procces conversion ratio (Dashboard)

Real-time monitoring of critical KPIs to reduce patient acquisition costs and increase operational efficiency.

Role of Automation in CRM-EHR Integrated Healthcare

Automation is making its mark in every sector for all good reasons. The webinar highlights how automation of event-driven triggers and workflows can significantly impact the healthcare industry.

For instance, a lead or a patient visits any website and looks for a product relevant to your business. An email related to that user event gets sent.

More benefits that healthcare marketing automation brings, as explained by John Keelier, are the ability to communicate faster, follow up quickly, speak to more patients, and not be time constrained.

Adding to it, John Wagner shares some examples to explain how automation has helped them with lead acquisitions, follow-ups, and business development.

The first example highlights how automation helped build communication timelines with people that reach out to potential clients at the most appropriate times, filtered by age and drug category.

The system either prompts a person to make a phone call, or the system sends an email or a text, whatever the preference was for that person when they had made the first contact.

In the second example, he illustrates how referrals and new account signups can help with business development when automation is put to work.

You can build your CRM system to automate a trigger that sends an automated message to a new account in the system after seven days and either triggers the business development person or sends an automated message to the contacts in that account and politely asks for the follow-up.

If anybody is still interested in care, the system can connect them with a healthcare contact center and begin providing care.

Adding to the benefits of automation, Charles takes the command and shares that they’re building profiles and creating unified journeys for patients with interconnected diseases or conditions, thus optimizing the healthcare process.

Via reminders and follow-ups, you can make your patients consult their doctors for their ailments on time and ensure they never miss a consultation. Likewise, timely tests, blood pressure checks, etc., can be ensured.

Automation allows you to send reminders and educational content when available; this stuff just pops off. You can communicate directly with the caregiver to make sure that they comply. With automation, you can extract data from EHR, build a profile in minutes, and save much of your time.

Intake procces conversion ratio (Dashboard)

Automated messaging triggers to help your patients always be on schedule

Is Having a CRM Enough?

Emphasizing why CRM doesn’t guarantee exceptional healthcare service, John Keelier suggests that any provider can spend money to set up a CRM but is it any good if it’s not put to the best use?

It will not be helpful unless you work and build segments, workflows, and all. For example, a common problem with Salesforce is that providers often complain about needing third-party developers to build a particular function.

John Wagner then starts reinforcing the point made by John Keelier and discusses how everything in this domain was centered around making phone calls after phone calls.

He points out that a lot of people, when under the influence, don’t want to talk to anyone. Reaching out to this group of people via alternative methods, such as texting, chatbots, etc., works wonders. He even said that certain patients wanted to skip dealing with a human to get the care.

“It’s just the mechanism that the youth are more comfortable with, using all the emojis and all those things versus, you know, having a true conversation around it.” states John Wagner.

Agreeing with John Wagner, John Keelier also describes his experience automating critical marketing activities with CRM.

Here’s an example shared by John Keelier, “There was a case of a hiker that got lost, in Grand Tetons National Park last year, and the police were calling him on his phone, and he was ignoring the calls, because they were from unknown number.”

One of the really powerful things automation with a CRM can do is automated lead nurturing. By automatically calling and texting the leads at the right times, CRM can help your front desk with lead acquisition.

“So, I want to do one last poll, that we’ve got, about patient expectations.” says John Wagner.

Patient Expectations and Experience Statistics

Integration of Tools With CRM

In the final moments of the webinar leading to the Q&A session, John Keelier urges John Wagner and Charles to share some tools that helped them better their services when integrated with CRM.

John Wagner mentions two telehealth tools, Actify and Avochato, that helped them offer better patient services and reactivate lost leads.

Actify: By running patient journeys, they get in touch with patients and try to engage them again. They’ll charge you a fee per lost lead reactivation if they’re successful.

Avochato: It is another HIPAA secure group that allows text messages to come right into your healthcare call center. Suppose an appointed person for a patient is on the phone with another patient. In that case, the call gets moved around until someone who’s free can interact with that patient and continue that process of HIPAA secure communication to engage them at one time 24/7, 365.

Charles seconds with John Wagner and further emphasizes the importance of texting tools. Whether it’s the timely delivery of medical reports, reminders, or anything else, texting tools are lifesavers.

Final Words on CRM

If you’re looking for a CRM or interested in upgrading your current patient management system, here’s what you need to know first!

Charles says it’s not something you should rush into doing. You must take your time and align all the variables, especially your sales aspects, and eventually, you’ll find out what you need to get and what’s not helping you build a profit-making business.

Sitting down and strategizing with your sales team to offer them your guidance and chalk out viable solutions will make everything clear to you.

John Wagner points out that the cost of operating a CRM, in the long run, is much more than the cost of acquiring a CRM.

“You have to have a Salesforce-certified programmer and a $125,000 or 130,000 a year salary, and there’s only so much they can do.”

So, you need to look at the actual cost and the cost to manage and run the system. Also, how user-friendly it is for data reporting and how user-friendly it is for you to set up.

On a final note, Nikhil Parwal welcomes everyone to check out LeadSquared and see their problems gone. To know more about how LeadSquared can solve your issues, call us, book us, and ask us for a demo today.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do you figure out how to manage marginalized populations?

Having a CRM is not enough. You have to have it set up correctly, and so when dealing with marginalized groups like the elderly, the recovery, the IDD, TBI, SPMI, behavioral needs, and fiscal challenges, you have different channels or different locations where those patients are served, you have to track the calls coming in for those locations separately.

  1. What makes a CRM different from ERP?

Although the entire company will eventually rely on both ERP and CRM systems, the main distinction is that while the sales and customer care divisions utilize CRM, ERP is largely for financial data and the finance department. The front office is the latter, whereas the former is frequently referred to as the back office.

  1. Why do I need a CRM to run my small healthcare business?

By combining customer data into one system, CRM may help a small firm. Keeping track of every transaction can be daunting as a firm expands. CRM technologies enable you to handle customer interactions, giving you more time to concentrate on your service or product.

About Our Panelists

Charles T. Folsom Jr.

Charles T. Folsom Jr. MSHA, BSN, RN, PMP
Chief Executive Officer – IAMNURSE, L.L.C. 

Charles has more than 33 years of nursing experience including critical care and emergency departments in some of the most prestigious facilities in the country.  He has developed a curriculum for patients and families that support a flexible lifestyle, with reliable customer-centric service models. Additionally, Charles has extensive experience in informatics implementations in commercial and Government spaces. And he has developed digital tools for patient autonomy and decision-making.  

Reagan Judd

Reagan Judd
CEO & Co-founder – Runner

 Reagan is a marketing addict with two decades of experience in business and marketing consulting for startups and growth-stage companies. An entrepreneur himself, Reagan founded the web development agency Envision Interactive in 2003. Seeing a need for comprehensive online marketing services beyond the website, Envision evolved into RUNNER, a digital marketing agency focusing on solutions for companies that are ready to grow. 

Lance Folske

Lance Folske
Senior Vice President Operations – Sun Behavioral Health

Lance Folske, previously the CEO and Vice President of Operations at SUN Columbus, has 15-plus years of experience in behavioral healthcare. He is committed to challenging the status-quo in behavioral health.

John Wagner

John Wagner
Chief Operating Officer – Vertava Health

An accomplished leader in all aspects of healthcare administration, John is known for a focus on provision of quality care, high growth rates, efficient use of resources and unquestioned regulatory compliance. John joined Vertava Health in July of 2019 as Chief Operating Officer.

Nikhil Parwal

Nikhil Parwal
Business Head, Healthcare – LeadSquared

Nikhil Parwal is the Business Head of healthcare for LeadSquared, Inc. He contributes a vast base of knowledge in the CRM and healthcare software industry, which is seen throughout our relationships with clients. He has an acute ability to see growth opportunities in client-driven customizations and services. Nikhil is always anticipating how LeadSquared can create a better, more efficient product to promote customer success. 

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