Guest post by Doug Cox, chief strategy officer, Elixir Technologies.
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:
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.
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.
Having the capability to easily include both internal and external users while managing their access and permissions, promotes efficient collaboration by ensuring appropriate participation. Easy-to-use portals can guide business users efficiently through correspondence creation, connecting participants and processes in a collaborative, visual workflow.
It is essential to build business rules and permissions into the workflow to guarantee proper templates are used along with the correct version of all content elements. Rules can include when an approval is required and by whom, and which delivery channels are used. Approval routing can be automated and tracked prior to release to the customer. Having these controls will also reduce the risk of non-compliance for regulated communications.
Four considerations for optimizing customer communications workflows
The following are four important CLM questions healthcare organizations should ask about their existing workflows when looking to achieve the three C’s. Answering “yes” will lead to bottom line improvements to save time, money, and, most importantly, increase the accuracy of the content:
- Can I generate all document and model versions from one master template without manual formatting?
- Can I centralize content and re-use it rather than embedding the same content in multiple versions?
- Can I set business rules to dynamically assemble the content for each version and format the physical pages for precise adherence to applicable regulations?
- Can I transition the management of document updates completely to business users without requiring support from IT that might slow the process down and take them off mission-critical IT work?
Achieving the three C’s that lead to content lifecycle management can result in vast improvements to a company’s bottom line, as well as more effective, targeted customer communications. Liberating content and resources—including reducing human involvement in manual processes—streamlines the process associated with current customer communication projects and makes good on the promise of results from effective and targeted customer communications.
Doug Cox is chief strategy officer for Elixir Technologies, a company that provides technology and services to help organizations improve communications to their members and customers by streamlining processes and reducing operational costs.