Practice Management Software, What Do You Need From Your CRM?

Assisting Your Commercial Strategy In Your Healthcare Practice, Features & Benefits Of A CRM

What features does a CRM need to deliver to become a real asset to your commercial strategy?

crm-flowA CRM can be of immense use to your Practice, it can gather data that is of real use to you in the management of several facets of your day to day working life. It can also automate a lot of the day to day workings of a Practice. In your busy day to day Practice, you are consistently caught up in the tactical. You need something or someone to look after the strategic. A good CRM system should do that for your business. Of course, you need to set out your strategic goals and plans, but with the automation of the deployment given to this by a good CRM, you should only have to consider it quarterly.

So with this in mind what features does a CRM have to have? What benefit do you want from those features in your business? Let’s look at the processes, procedures and data that would be of benefit to you in your Practice if they were automated.


Patient Journey Automation

You set out a Patient Journey, it consists of several consult visits over a period of years. The Patient journey is deployed as part of your value added service and it consists of different types and length of appointments. These appointments are strategically designed to bolster your Patient retention and referral strategy. Excellent so far, but, in order for this to work effectively it involves a lot of thought and administrative time to run. However we know that this strategy is worth the effort because of the on-going payoff to your business.

We need a CRM to be able to automate this process somewhat, but how automated can it be? In an ideal world what exactly would you like it to do?

  • Automatically schedule the differing follow up visits and label them
  • Automatically set up reminders for staff to contact Patients at appropriate times
  • Automatically mail merge the correct contact letters

So in an ideal system you would be able to input your standard Patient journey. Once a Patient was changed from a Prospect to a Purchaser, the CRM would have several workflows that kicked in that took care of everything else. Like I said, in an ideal world, however most CRMs I have come across so far are not nearly as automated. In order to allow any CRM to assist you in your business you need to input the data in order that you can later pull it out. So in the case of the three objectives we have set, we need to set out strict processes to achieve the benefits.

The simplest manner to meet our goals is to set up a search on the CRM for a Purchasing  Patient that has had not appointment for five months or more or eight months or more etc. In that way, your receptionist may run that search at the start of a month and spit out a list of Patients that need to be called back. You can then call, mail and schedule to your hearts content. Several of the CRMs available will allow you to call and mail from within the programme. Therefore recording an activity that you can search against. This is the type of power that you need and should want.

Mail Marketing

Again, in an ideal world, we would like to set out the parameters of our mail marketing and our CRM automatically takes care of that marketing. Sorry, probably is not going to happen for you. However, if we again set up parameter searches we can run them at will, the searches will allow us to easily pull marketing lists that we can then merge with our letter templates. The search parameters could include CNP (Consultation No Purchase) last appointment 12 months or more. Purchaser, last sale forty eight months or more etc. In this way we can run this searches on a monthly basis and take control of our mail marketing. Again several of the CRMs available allow you to undertake this with ease.

Medical Reports, Medical Referral Letters

A good CRM will allow the automation of these letters allowing you to concentrate on something else. However, you will first have to set up the letters and reports in your templates in order that you can quickly and easily mail merge them. If you wish to automate this process in order that your receptionist can undertake the mailing you will need to enter a category in order that she or he can search and merge.


Integration of financial data in a CRM gives you a powerful management tool. It allows you to quickly and easily spit out the data that you need to assess the health of your business. It also can clearly point out where you have issues if you know what you are looking for. Of course that is if you have set up the CRM to record the data in the first place. What data is of real relevance to you in order that you can truly assess the health of your business and the efficacy of your staff?

  • Sales Conversion Rate
  • Monaural Rate
  • Binaural Rate
  • Cancellation Rate
  • Aftercare Appointment Rate
  • Cancelled Appointment Rate
  • Referral Sources
  • Average Sales Price
  • Unit Volume

All of these KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are imperative in order that you can make assessments of how your business and your employees are doing. Watching these KPIs over time allows you to continually monitor the health of your business. It will also allow you to quickly recognise and deal with issues that are arising.

Marketing Monitoring

A good CRM will also allow you to continually assess your return on investment of your marketing activities. You need to ensure that there is a referral source field and you need to ensure that you have set out clear and simple categories. But once you have done this you can set up searches that allow you to continuously pull the data on referral sources allowing you to make factual decisions on marketing.

This post is not exhaustive, the more you realise the power of a CRM, the more things you would like it to do. As I have said in an earlier post, I am currently researching several of the commercially available CRMs in our industry. I will be testing them against some of the parameters I have discussed here. If you have any experience with them, or if you think I have missed anything that you think is really important, let me know. I promise I will test them with any of your suggestions.




About Geoffrey Cooling

Geoffrey Cooling is an Irish hearing care blogger and the author of The Little Book of Hearing Aids and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World. He has been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession since 2007 when he qualified as a hearing aid audiologist. He has worked in private practice and for a major hearing aid manufacturer. He has become recognised as an authority within the field of hearing care and hearing aids.

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