Common Patient Intake Challenges Facing Healthcare Organizations

May 3, 2018 | Katrina Catacutan


For many healthcare providers, managing the patient intake process can be a major challenge. Whether your specialty has a long or a short consideration time, processing information and prioritizing communication requires having the right systems and resources in place. Although each office faces unique struggles, there are several universal challenges associated with the patient intake process.  

Lack of Automation Creates Individual Silos

The absence of automation creates splinted—and often manual—storage solutions. With call and contact activity coming through in arbitrary surges, not every activity is properly recorded in a centralized location or CRM, even if it’s the desired outcome. Often, patient information is gathered through a combination of an intake representative’s individual computer, a shared folder, or even pen and paper. Without an automated system to gather and store this data, healthcare organizations struggle to produce accurate reporting and effectively prioritize qualified patients.

Even for healthcare facilities that utilize a CRM, such as HubSpot or Salesforce, bottlenecks can still exist in the process. The sole use of a technology platform to track patient records is not enough to encourage patients to take the next step in managing their health. Marketing, customer service and technical support are critical to raising patient awareness, comfort and trust during the onboarding process. It is not enough to simply record information; the patient experience must be nurtured to fruition to produce results. 

Call Center Bandwidth Hinders Success

Even if an office has designed the best possible intake process for their specialty, with nurturing campaigns and expertly crafted call center scripts, a program may still not prosper as expected. When an investment in marketing technology does not produce anticipated results, it can be frustrating for healthcare organizations looking to grow their business. However, it may not be your digital marketing efforts hindering the intake process.

Too often, bandwidth issues within a contact center obstruct the success of streamlined patient intake. Particularly for a service as important as healthcare, nothing is more frustrating for potential patients than long wait times on the phone, or worse, being sent straight to a voicemail box. Time and again, marketing campaigns that drive qualified patient leads can ultimately fail due to improper staffing or call triaging during business hours. Change management assistance can aid in not only anticipating call volumes from various marketing activities or seasonal events but also ensuring positive patient experiences. When your current workforce is trained and prepared to handle new patient intake initiatives, your facility can expect a higher return on marketing investment.

Muddied Patient Data

There is a great deal of information to capture and process when evaluating potential patients. Numerous prerequisite forms, multiple call inquiries, and HIPAA requirements can further complicate an already complex process. These challenges can lead to problems such as duplicate or incomplete records, making it more difficult to execute campaigns and process admissions successfully.

While it can seem cumbersome and time-consuming, undertaking a data-cleansing exercise to remove inactive or irrelevant records, and possibly appending accurate contact information, can be a valuable use of time and resources. It is key to regularly audit your organization’s database to identify which records are correct, which should be purged and what marketing campaigns should be created to re-engage dormant contacts to maximize outreach efforts.

As more and more patients begin to take steps toward actively managing their healthcare through digital, healthcare facilities must work to eliminate the initial challenges associated with patient intake. By accurately and efficiently eliminating disparate record taking processes through automated technology, organizations can engage patients looking to manage their healthcare. When presented with a positive customer experience at the very beginning of the intake process, patients will be more likely to return time and time again. Healthcare offices that wish to grow during an age of disruption must seize the opportunity to streamline their digital marketing efforts to get the most out of their staff and offer the best possible experience to their patients.  

Topics: Marketing Automation Technology and Data Healthcare

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