It was a busy few days at Salesforce Dreamforce for the Silverline Healthcare team between attending sessions and meeting face-to-face with prospects and clients. The team learned a lot about the concerns of our healthcare peers and shared how Silverline can help them conquer their challenges.
After the Silverline team returned from Dreamforce, healthcare systems started announcing their financials, and the news didn’t present much of a surprise. CommonSpirit Health, a Chicago-based Catholic hospital operator, is one of the nation’s largest health systems. The organization was the first to publish its annual results and reported a $1.3 billion full-year operating loss in the fiscal year ending June 30. Last year, the operating income was $998 million.
CommonSpirit Health attributed the loss to higher expenses, especially for staffing, and revenue challenges, including an unfavorable shift in payer mix and declining acuity. The reality is that these issues are not unique to CommonSpirit and were top of mind for many organizations that Silverline engaged with at Dreamforce. These macro conditions in the healthcare industry are causing providers to turn to automation and try to get higher value out of their Salesforce platforms.
But healthcare systems have not fully embraced CRM and are realizing the limits of their electronic health records. So providers are migrating to specialized system integrators like Silverline that can help them explore, secure, and deploy Salesforce to keep up with the competition. They want a consultative-driven approach from a system integrator with the expertise to implement a high-value Salesforce platform and put a strong strategy behind it.
What’s happening in healthcare
According to the CommonSpirit Annual Report, “staffing remains a pressing issue across the industry,” and “fatigue and burnout among healthcare workers continue to be a major challenge currently facing CommonSpirit and the nation.”
How staffing issues impact qualitative and quantitative care delivery was a hot topic during Silverline’s Dreamforce conversations. Healthcare systems are at a point where they do not have adequate staff to deal with current patient volume, let alone when there is eventually an increase in that volume.
Providers are trying to figure out how to manage the patient population they are servicing more efficiently through the continuum of care – without staff augmentation. Their needs include:
- Balancing clinical care outcomes with patient expectations
- Differentiating from competitors in the marketplace
- Maintaining controllable churn management to deliver care at the lowest cost with the highest opportunity to divert patients from a provider’s ED, urgent care, or an inpatient setting
Providers are seeking ways to leverage automation to offset the reduction in staffing. But with funds lacking, it is questionable if providers can even find the monies to invest in approaches such as automation that will reduce operational costs and consolidate redundant process flows from their new and existing patient marketplaces.
In the worst-case scenario, healthcare systems will hit a point where they no longer have the necessary operating capital to sustain the business, keep their doors open, and deliver care. They may have to reach out to the federal government and ask for bailouts. We’ve already seen this situation play out in the community access space.
Why automation may save the healthcare industry
Healthcare systems we met with at Dreamforce are well aware that they need to start automating to survive. A common refrain that Silverline continually heard from healthcare providers was some version of these phrases:
“We’re scrambling because if we can’t get our arms around some notion of patient engagement, we’re screwed.”
“We are leaking referrals like crazy. We don’t know where they are and can’t measure them.”
“We have no means of knowing who a patient is as a person.”
The push for automation is particularly essential for provider referral patterning and management. Providers must know where referrals are coming from now and within the past months. They need to understand what has been lost quantitatively and qualitatively, including identifying the reason codes and what is controllable. And by automating, especially at their contact center, providers can better grasp referrals that were lost and those they can service.
The best course of action for the healthcare industry is to reframe its thinking around the definition of CRM. Traditionally CRM was seen by the industry as a marketing solution. But based on the current pain points in the industry, the definition of CRM has shifted. It now has more value across the care delivery side than an organization’s marketing and engagement side.
The new definition of CRM in healthcare is not client relationship management. It’s clinical reach management. And to improve a provider’s clinical reach management inside of the healthcare delivery model means to lean into automation. That is the only way to improve clinical outcomes that create engagement that is second to none with both patient and provider.
Start automating with Silverline
It’s not all doom and gloom in the healthcare industry. There are bright spots on the horizon for those healthcare systems that embrace transformation and make the leap to automation. At Dreamforce and every day, the Silverline healthcare team speaks to the benefits of automating with Salesforce Health Cloud and Marketing Cloud to support the business needs of healthcare systems, payers, and providers – especially as healthcare becomes more consumer-driven and consumer-focused.
Silverline leverages insight acquired through thousands of engagements and real-world expertise across the healthcare industry. From strategy and implementation to managed services, we guide clients through every phase of their journey — enabling continuous value with the Salesforce platform. Find out how our team of experts can solve your organization’s challenges.