Patient management works better with CRM

Prevention, chronic diseases, home care are only few themes that a CRM can help to manage, instead of developing ad-hoc traditional applications. Which are benefits and disadvantages of this kind of solution?

Developers of healthcare software are generally “allergic” – just to use the medical slang – to employ base frameworks and components. Even in fields like middleware, where many open and proprietary platforms are available, the “self-made” approach is preferred.

Generally application to manage vaccinations, screenings, care management, home care are realised by means of traditional development tools, starting from zero. Being a “poor” market – generally the cost of these solutions has always been lower that the hospital ones – quality and functionalities of these software are not up to standards.

The economic aspect, together with the self-made approach, was one of the reasons why the software houses did not consider platforms and tools which in other sectors represent the base of customer relationship processes.

Although the continue affirmation that the healthcare system should focus on the patient, at IT level this concept is actualized by unify the personal data, while the involved processes are managed through a range of applications, with a large heterogeneity of functions, services and fruition modes.

CRMs and their declination for healthcare sector, are generally not considered by software supplier nor by healthcare organisation, even when new solutions are being designing.

At the base of CRM paradigm there are the relationship with the patient, in all different ways it can occur, as well as the different functions and services these platforms offer represent an interesting opportunity for the healthcare sector, to be attentively evaluated.

In Europe and in the United States different solutions for prevention, care of chronic diseases, assistance, are built on CRM systems. With this approach developers can start from complete set of well-structured functions and services, letting them concentrate on processes implementations. These platforms possess modules for integration with other systems, operate with a multi-channel logic and permit to customize data, forms and reports by means of user-friendly visual tools. Hence, imagine building a house with prefabricated elements rather than single bricks.

The disadvantages of this choice are the CRM cost, absent in a self-made solution, and fewer freedom and autonomy than for traditional development. In respect to the first point, the development cost should also be estimated, being higher without a CRM. Another point to consider, not necessarily a disadvantage, is that some CRM solutions are cloud-based.

In conclusion, I’m convinced that in the above mentioned field the adoption of a CRM should be evaluated as alternative to traditional solutions. More in general, the insertion of a CRM in addition to the classical ESB components is strongly recommended when designing the complex architecture of a healthcare information system.

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