Over the past 15 weeks, this managing an IVF unit weekly blog has focussed on all elements of crisis management, marketing and communications. One area I haven’t yet covered is IT systems and how they can streamline your marketing efforts. To write this blog, I put 5 different scenarios to Kamal Patel of Air Web Solutions. They specialise in strategic IT systems to improve internal and external communications for fertility clinics.
The full picture of a patient journey
In an ideal world as marketing professionals we want to be able to show the full picture of a patient journey. From the first enquiry right through to delivery of healthy baby. Most clinics have one system for capturing new patient enquiries. Then another system when the patient enters the medical system. The patient then passes to the laboratory system. And at some stage they also enter the accounting system. Finally, success is logged back in the laboratory system!
I asked Kamal how this multiple channel approach could be streamlined to be able to follow that same patient through all stages around the clinic.
It’s a really interesting question and the solution lends itself well in most industries and business scenarios. The solution actually begins with understanding the entire flow of data related to a patient. Then we need to understand the roles internally of dealing with the different aspects of patient care.
Importance of data flow
Without data flow or an understanding of the patient journey, there is no way to create a smooth seamless experience for patients and staff. This understanding generally helps to decide what systems are needed in order to handle each part of the journey.
Once identified, a clinic must look at how these separate systems will speak to each other, transfer data and link together. This allows the professionals to view an entire picture of the patient’s experience, before, during and after. Ultimately this will direct the clinic to choose solutions that can integrate well. In most scenarios a CRM system of some sort will be the glue that binds these disparate systems together nicely.
When it comes to the delivery of a healthy baby, patients thankfully send the new arrival announcement. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if the marketing team knew the due date of all new arrivals? It would be amazing to be able to plan your content on social media. To have the gift from the team ready to send as soon as you know the delivery went well. But also being able to check in with the patient during their pregnancy.
I asked Kamal how a fully integrated CRM system could highlight the milestones on a patient journey. This allows marketing to have an ongoing relationship with the patients. After all the strongest tool in the marketing toolbox is patient testimonials and word of mouth!
Identifying the pipeline
Once the clinic has identified workflows, systems and a CRM solution, this ensures a seamless flow of patient data, specific workflows and pipeline. These workflows can be used to manage the process at any stage. They automatically prompt additional tasks and even assigns tasks to specific individuals within your internal or wider outsourced teams to action tasks within the specified time frame.
This ensures accountability and gives the clinic a way of checking the status of the patient journey. Anything that hasn’t been done within a specified timeframe can be escalated and either reallocated to another team member or assessed for further viability in the workflow.
In the scenario you mention above, the proud parents of a new born baby announces their new bundle of joy. This could automatically or manually trigger a new pipeline or series of tasks in the CRM system. Alerting the Marketing team to create and deliver social media content by a certain date and time.
Here you see a group of actions being allocated to a team (accountability) for completion by a specific date and time. At any given time, managers and staff can see the status of this pipeline and contribute if required.
There are multiple platforms in the marketing plan and it’s important that every patient enquiry is not only captured but also shows how the patient arrived at your clinic. This clearly shows how well each channel is performing.
The main point of capturing data is so clinics can be proactive as opposed to reactive. An example of this, especially with current COVID19 challenges is not having enough cycles booked in for the coming months. Effective capture of this data by date means you can go back to enquiries from 12-24 months previously, as patients do take a long time to decide on where they are going to have treatment.
I asked Kamal how he would ensure this data is captured through online and offline marketing channels.
Let’s take online channels, such as web enquiries, emails, website analytics and social media messages to begin with. A website may have a number of forms, from enquiries to patient feedback. These forms can be integrated in to your CRM system and either saved under the activity of an existing patient in your database or added as a new patient.
In a similar way, social media interactions can be saved back to your CRM and again, stored against a member within your CRM or create a new patient profile. This allows you to build a picture of habits and interests for a particular patient profile. It also allows multiple clinic team members to understand more about a patient when interacting with them verbally on the phone or physically in the clinics itself.
With this information, a clinic can see immediately how long back an enquiry was made and also how the enquiry was left. If there is an upcoming period of availability in terms of cycles, an automated workflow could be setup to kick off a pipeline of tasks to ensure the marketing team or sales team communicate directly with leads that have not been closed in order to fulfil the clinics optimum cycle rate for the coming months.
Measuring staff productivity
An IVF unit is quite unique in that the medical staff are also the sales team. Therefore, an integrated IT system would allow analysis of staff duties and who new enquiries are most likely to convert to patients with. Say Jane is a great nurse, the patients love her! Her name is always referenced by grateful patients.
But when you look at the system Jane spends an hour on the phone to each of her patients and on average only speaks to 7 patients a day. When you compare that to Sue, you see Sue speaks to 20 patients a day and new enquiries convert to new patients in 60% of her calls.
This gives you really useful information. Sue should take all new patient enquiries. Jane should only speak to in cycle patients and be more hands on with patients around the clinic. I asked Kamal to demonstrate how IT could offer these insights.
Key Performance Indictors
Dashboards! Plain and simple. Any good CRM system will allow you to set up key performance indicators (KPI’s) to track and record specific interaction data for your patients, staff and overall clinic workflows.
By reviewing this information weekly and monthly, a clinic is able to identify the scenarios you mentioned above and ensure an efficient process internally and also the allocation of tasks to the most suitable members of your team. Internal efficiency measurements are just as important as sales and marketing KPI’s and even allows the clinic to set benchmarks for existing and new members of the team. It’s a great idea to review the type of data you are collecting and the KPI’s you are measuring. It will help you see how that can be used as meaningful information to help you run your clinics better.
Plan future marketing with no wastage
If there is no integrated IT system, then you are relying solely on Google Analytics to provide insights. Then traditional media such as print, exterior ads, TV and radio won’t be captured. This leads you to believe that traditional methods don’t work and you focus your marketing efforts purely in digital.
We have seen the changing trend during COVID19 and we need more robust systems to ensure all potential patients in your target area are being reached.
I asked Kamal how clinics can measure telephone enquiries, word of mouth and doctor referrals.
Offline capture of enquiries such as telephone enquires as a result of a TV or radio advertising campaign, or even walk in enquiries can be recorded by the member of staff directly into the CRM system. After this, an automated workflow can be triggered in the same way.
VoIP telephone solutions
Another excellent addition to CRM integration is the use of VoIP telephony solutions to automatically log calls against a specific patient and record calls for review later on. For example, a dialler system as part of your VoIP telephony service could record the key presses based on the persons responses. In this way you can allocate specific information about how and why the customer has called. In this case we can also see which method of communication the enquirer or patient prefers, and again creating a more personal experience for them by your clinic staff.
I have only scratched the surface here on the capability of IT solutions, there are many more problems that can be addressed to streamline the entire patient journey. This information is vital in the current climate and there will be further blogs to explore this subject in more detail. In the meantime, if you have specific marketing challenges then please do get in touch.
Veronica Montgomery, Patient and Clinic Liaison Consultant
The Fertility Hub
Previous blogs in this series
Part one – COVID19 Crisis Management for IVF Clinics
Part two – Marketing and Communications During COVID19
Part three – Financial Implications of COVID19
Part four – The use of PR during the COVID19 pandemic
Part five – Protecting your brand during COVID19
Part six – Online marketing during COVID19
Part seven – Using online seminars to build trust.
Part eight – The power of newsletters during the COVID19 crisis.
Part nine – Video marketing tips during COVID19.
Part ten – Covid19 – The Indian Perspective.
Part eleven – The use of podcasts.
Part twelve – Cost effective marketing.
Part thirteen – Digital marketing during COVID19
Part fourteen – Best practice on your website