Achieving Effective and Targeted Customer Communications: It’s All About Managing the Three “C’s”

Guest post by Doug Cox, chief strategy officer, Elixir Technologies.

Doug Cox
Doug Cox

The good news is that there is plenty of great content being generated throughout most health organizations to create engaging, effective member and patient customer communications, which we will call “customer communications” to include any recipient. The bad news is that the content is often locked away in siloed systems and workflows, making it very difficult for marketing, customer experience and mobile strategy teams to leverage information in a streamlined, cost-effective way. The result? Marketing promotions and graphics are only available for use in brochures, purchase history data is only accessible for billing, and so on. Content is trapped in the specific system it served originally, limiting its value to the organization.

These challenges can be overcome by implementing the newest concept in healthcare document creation: content lifecycle management (CLM). The goal of CLM is to enable business teams to create and manage correspondence themselves using portals configured for specific document types, such as healthcare plan summaries, coverage change notifications and benefits statements. Implementing a CLM approach can unlock valuable data, avoid dependence on the availability of IT resources, reduce costs, and speed time to market.

Employing a CLM approach requires achieving three important “C’s”: centralization, collaboration and control. Each of these areas plays a critical role in attaining effective communications that speak directly to the customer’s individual needs and desires.

Here’s a look at each of the three C’s:

Centralization

An important step to improving customer communications is centralizing access to content and templates so that they are readily available to business users. Making it possible to reuse content in multiple health plans and versions, for instance, rather than having substantial amounts of duplicate content that is not shared, will improve efficiency and reduce the amount of effort and time needed to update or change data across versions. Changing a plan benefit for example, can be accomplished in one step for hundreds of document versions, rather than having to replace the information in each individual file.

Collaboration

Participation from people outside the primary workflow is often required but can cause bottlenecks. A good collaboration tool sits atop the entire enterprise, integrating people automatically into the workflow on an ‘as needed’ basis. A browser-based system provides the greatest flexibility because it can be accessed by anyone regardless of location.

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A Leading Threat to Top-line Revenue: Patient Discharge

Michael Charest
Michael Charest

Guest by Michael Charest, vice president healthcare, insurance and financial Services, GMC Software Technology.

Healthcare organizations today are pursuing a wide range of health IT initiatives in the hopes of reducing costs, improving efficiencies and, most importantly, enhancing patient care. While a great deal of attention is being paid to high-profile health IT topics, such as electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange (HIE), there are basic aspects of the workflow at healthcare organizations that can also play a key role in driving healthcare efficiencies. One of these is the patient discharge experience.

How well patients are communicated with upon discharge is a leading threat to a healthcare organization’s top-line revenue, as well as an endangerment to the patient experience. With Medicare/Medicaid regulations now making it difficult to collect revenue for a patient’s second visit for the same problem within 30 days, special attention needs to be paid to how well healthcare organizations are preparing the patient when they walk out the hospital door—and at home following their release. Patients need to be able to understand their at-home instructions for post-visit care so they don’t have to return to the healthcare facility for more treatment or instructions, which will negatively impact the hospital’s revenue and the patient experience.

Creating a more effective discharge experience for patients requires providing clear, easy to read discharge instructions. Accomplishing this is not always a simple task given that the instructions typically are compiled from a large set of data feeds, gathered from multiple treating physicians and need to be provided in a language that the patient can understand. Health IT can play a critical role in overcoming these hurdles.

Similarly, healthcare organizations will benefit from considering the archival system in place. It is important to have an archival process that will enable the organization to prove that discharge instructions were complete and comprehensive. This will avoid the potential for losing Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements in the event of an audit. Not having the ability to easily retrieve all relevant records exposes the healthcare organization to avoidable revenue loss.

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