As a skilled nursing facility administrator, you have a lot on your plate, including but certainly not limited to optimizing operations, improving patient outcomes, and, of course, increasing your census.
COVID-19 has exacerbated these challenges, especially when it comes to census. According to a report from CliftonLarsonAllen, all 48 contiguous US states reported SNF occupancy of under 80% at the beginning of 2021. In Texas, SNF occupancy has fallen to 56%. A large part of this decline appears to be due to a decrease in hospital discharges to SNF as more patients choose home health. Since referrals from acute-care settings represent a significant portion of skilled nursing admissions, that’s a big blow to the industry.
CRM software can help you weather this difficult time and also ensure your organization will thrive into the future. With a tool built specifically for post-acute care, your sales team can streamline and automate many aspects of the sales process. The right CRM will also provide you with the business intelligence you need to focus your efforts on the channels that drive the best results.
Here are 5 must-have CRM features for your skilled nursing facility moving forward.
1. HIPAA compliance
Protecting patient privacy is a top priority as the consequences of not doing so can be very, very high. This need for this protection starts as soon as an individual enters your system, which is why your CRM needs to be HIPAA compliant. This is where an industry-specific tool shines — other CRMs may have the ability to be HIPAA compliant, but it’s often a hassle to configure and it may cost a premium.
2. Hospital system integration
Referrals are the main sales driver in SNF. The challenge is that different hospitals might use different methods to send you referrals. If that’s the case, your admissions coordinator may have to collate all of this information and manually enter it into your software. This process is time-consuming, prone to error, and likely means that some of your referrals are slipping through the cracks.
Your CRM should integrate with your referring hospitals’ systems so it can automatically aggregate referrals from all sources. Especially right now, when hospital referrals are down, it’s essential that you capture every single one that comes in.
3. Referral management
Also look for a CRM with robust referral management capabilities so that you have complete transparency into where each referral is in the process. This will ensure follow-through and also help you understand what’s happening with your different referral sources.
Say referrals from Hospital A almost always lead to admissions while referrals from Hospital B don’t. This information can help you decide the best course of action going forward. For example, you could decide to put more resources toward outreach to Hospital A and similar providers, or you could analyze what’s going wrong with the referrals from Hospital B to increase the conversion rate. Both of these things will boost your occupancy, but you wouldn’t have known about them if the data from the two hospitals were kept in different places.
4. EHR and billing system integration
Referrals aren’t the only place where interoperability matters. Your CRM should also integrate with your other systems, including EHR and billing, so you have visibility into all of your operations in the same place. This reduces time spent on manual data entry and also provides you with the analytics (e.g., cost per admission by referral source) you need to make data-driven decisions.
5. Post-admit and post-discharge tracking
CRM software helps reduce the risk of hospital readmission by creating customized, automated workflows and checklists to track post-admit and post-discharge activities.
This is important because hospitals look into readmission rates when they decide where to refer their patients. Having a low readmission rate will help ensure more referrals come your way.
These aren’t the only things to look for in a CRM. You’ll also want to make sure the software you purchase can be customized to fit your operations, is easy to use, and generally provides the sales and marketing support you need. But the five features discussed above are non-negotiable as they will help your team maintain a laser focus on the most profitable referral sources and outreach activities.
Aline provides HIPAA-compliant census solutions for skilled nursing facilities. If you’re ready to increase your occupancy by earning and capturing more referrals, schedule a demo today.
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