By Lizzie Mooney

As much as some hospitals and physicians dislike Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), EMRs are here to stay. But, EMRs and healthcare information technologies (HIT) can give organizations a false sense of security that they are providing value-based services to patients.

EMRs are health record systems, not systems of patient engagement. Problems arise with EMRs because they are not designed to integrate with other systems, and to install them in a large organization often results in numerous interoperability issues. Additionally, EMRs are unable to run metrics on critical results, and hospitals are often left with more gaps than solutions.

According to Solution Reach, many practices lose about 50% of their patient base every five years – a high number for any industry. Since it costs ten times more to find new business than retaining current patients, a hospital must constantly be working towards high rates of patient retention.

Teams can track and measure metrics in spreadsheets, but how can they proactively ensure actionable follow-up? With standard EMRs and other HIT tools, data is constrained to inform, when it should be used to educate.

One of the biggest tools hospitals need in their pocket is the ability to take action and track patient decisions, which can’t be found in EMRs. There is an untapped wealth of patient data waiting to be revealed by healthcare CRM solutions. Hospitals can take action on this data, track interactions for accountable follow-up, and understand the numbers behind patient decisions.

In large health systems, it’s not uncommon for 20 or so physicians to retire each year. If each of these physicians serves 1,800 patients, that is more than 34,000 patients who will lose their physician every year. These patients add up to a staggering value of almost $50 million annually to the health system. With new regulations and declining reimbursement rates, that’s money a health system can’t afford to lose.

A true healthcare CRM solution can proactively track how many patients are leaving a health system annually, and it can also capture physician transition events to drive accountability across all patient touchpoints. An EMR can’t do that.

Most health systems across the country are faced with patient populations where over half of them are "at-risk" or "not loyal" to their physicians, equating to tens of millions of "at-risk" dollars.

In the end, EMRs and patient portals are just not enough. Health systems need to be able to actively communicate with, engage, and understand their patient populations to drive retention effectively. That's why they need to invest in a healthcare CRM solution.

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