Lab-Specific CRM Helps Innovative Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups to Intelligently Cut Costs while Boosting Service to Physicians, Patients
Sonora Quest Labs and Incyte Diagnostics streamline operations, eliminate data silos, and increase efficiencies using real-time analytics from laboratory-specific CRM
Across the nation, clinical laboratories and anatomic pathologists face two common challenges. One is shrinking lab budgets and less payment for lab tests. The other is the need to maintain physician and patient services at a high level. Both factors are fueling greater interest in lab and healthcare-specific customer relationship management (CRM).
Stated another way, labs and pathology groups are being squeezed by the need to operate on less revenue, while also increasing their quality of customer service to retain existing clients and expand market share. CRMs are a proven way to achieve and sustain superior levels of customer service in a surprisingly cost-effective way. In fact, many labs that implement a CRM find that the return on investment comes swiftly, in just a few months.
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups Hit by Declining Prices, Revenues
“The clinical lab industry is solidly in an era where payers are slashing the prices they pay for lab tests and hospitals—struggling with their own financial problems—are cutting their lab budgets,” observed Robert L. Michel, Editor-in-Chief of The Dark Report, “These factors are motivating lab administrators and pathologists to look for solutions that allow them to run their lab at less cost, while improving staff productivity and customer service.
“This is why first-mover and early-adopter medical labs saw the potential of real-time analytical middleware and lab-specific CRM solutions to help them meet the challenge of running their labs on less money, while simultaneously sustaining superior levels of customer service,” continued Michel. “Every lab manager knows that the path to improved profitability is blocked by poor workflows, time-consuming quality metrics processes, and disconnected sales and customer service teams.”
Innovative medical laboratory managers report that their investment in laboratory-specific CRM systems (also known as healthcare-specific CRM) suddenly gives them access to data that has been locked away within their legacy LIS and other software systems. By unlocking this data in real-time dashboards and reports, they gain competitive advantage in the lab testing marketplace. A healthcare-specific CRM makes it possible to monitor a wide range of activities, including:
- Proactively tracking relations with client physicians;
- Monitoring workflow and lab operations in real time; and
- Gaining a comprehensive view of all sales and customer service activities at both the aggregate and provider levels.
Tracking Key Benchmarks, Productivity, and Accountability
Sonora Quest Laboratories (SQL) of Tempe, Ariz., a joint venture between Banner Health and Quest Diagnostics (NASDAQ:DGX), wanted to reduce the amount of time spent collating reports and performing manual calculations, as well as breaking down cumbersome data silos across the organization in order to streamline communication and collaboration.
Prior to activating a laboratory-specific CRM platform, employees at SQL spent five hours per day pulling key metrics and reports. To move forward with strategic initiatives, the company could not continue to “struggle with endless silos of data and information,” a case study on SQL’s challenges states.
CRM Designed for Medical Laboratories and Pathology Groups
To address these concerns, SQL turned to a laboratory-specific CRM that integrates existing silos and systems into a centralized interface through automated data capturing. The solution provides detailed, real-time dashboards with visibility across the organization. Graphs and charts enable users to:
- Track their progress meeting turnaround time benchmarks;
- Ensure their volume is level-loaded; and
- Track by the hour how many tests are coming in and completed, the case study notes.
“The first step was to integrate our LIS [laboratory information system], and our timekeeping, call center metrics, and bench scheduling tools, into the hc1 CRM solution we had installed,” stated Tamara Nelson, Lean Master Black Belt at SQL. “Once that was accomplished, we could build actionable reports to determine where to focus our process improvement efforts.
“Now we can look at high-level trends in lab productivity,” noted Nelson. “We can also drill down to look at every process in our lab by hour, shift, discipline, instrument, and employee to compare time periods and other factors.”
According to the case study about Sonora Quest Laboratories, after its activation of the healthcare CRM, SQL reduced time spent pulling daily performance reports from about five hours per day to just 45 minutes a day. This increased overall employee efficiency by 85%.
SQL’s use of the CRM now makes it possible to:
- Provide real-time financial and operation trend analysis to key stakeholders;
- Use live dashboard and reports to review and manage TAT (turn-around time) benchmarks, utilization, reimbursements, volume, and productivity;
- Track employee productivity across departments to drive accountability; and
- Broadcast reports to immediately notify key stakeholders of any risks, missed benchmarks, or red flags.
Better Way for Clinical Laboratories to Track Client Interactions
Another medical laboratory that benefitted from implementing a laboratory-specific CRM is Incyte Diagnostics of Spokane Valley, Washington. Founded in 1957 by pathologists, Incyte provides anatomic pathology services throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Incyte needed a way to consolidate data coming from the multiple systems used to manage its sales process and payer information. The different systems created a disconnect between departments and, as structured, could only deliver a few real-time insights into volume or revenue shifts, client account activity, marketing campaigns, or sales activities.
Having received 35,000 e-mails from his sales team during the previous two years, Incyte’s Chief Marketing Officer Nate Koenig knew he had to find a better way to track client interactions.
“We needed a better understanding of what was taking place within our clients’ hospitals. To grow, we had to improve. That’s where the CRM solution we selected proved invaluable,” stated Koenig in a case study detailing how Incyte found a solution to tedious workflows and disorganized information tracking.
After adopting a healthcare CRM, Incyte could:
- Help sales reps gain more field time;
- Centralize client information;
- Track sales activities;
- Properly store data; and
- Gain access to real-time analytics.
Anatomic Pathology Lab Exceeded Production Goals and Customer Expectations
According to the case study, by eliminating data silos and streamlining sales operations Incyte was able to:
- Exceed its sales growth goal in 2016 by 107%;
- Retain 99.51% of current business;
- Reduce the overall workload of the client services team 6.25%; and
- Gain 32 additional days of field time for its 17 sales reps.
Both Sonora Quest Laboratories and Incyte, Inc., are examples of how innovative medical laboratories are using informatics to meet the challenges of declining revenue and the need to sustain a high level of customer service. In today’s connected world, those labs that are first to achieve useful integration of their LIS with a CRM will enjoy competitive advantage.
Surviving in this challenging environment means clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups must unlock the power of data informatics to improve their financial performance and better serve providers and patients. To help laboratory leaders reach these goals, The Dark Report recently published a white paper titled, “3 Critical Rules for Surviving in 2017: Your Medical Laboratory’s Guide to Thriving in Today’s Healthcare Landscape.”
This essential resource demonstrates how a laboratory-specific CRM enables medical laboratories to not just survive, but to thrive in today’s healthcare environment, while providing added value to healthcare consumers and providers.
Get your copy of this important asset by clicking on this link. Or, copy this URL into your browser: https://ddaily.wpengine.com/whitepaper/3-critical-rules-for-surviving-in-2017-your-medical-laboratorys-guide-to-thriving-in-todays-healthcare-landscape.
—Andrea Downing Peck