Delivering an Omnichannel Access Experience in Healthcare

Annie Zilius, Leah McCanna, Scott Brown, Fred Stevens

In Brief

3-Minute Read

By Annie Zilius, Leah McCanna, Scott Brown, Fred Stevens


  • How individuals interact with their health system is rapidly evolving, creating an opportunity for healthcare organizations to evaluate how they engage with their patients and consumers.

  • As health systems make progress in diversifying engagement channels, focus is needed on coordinating interactions across those channels to deliver a seamless access experience.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms provide the infrastructure to connect communication across channels and enable an omnichannel engagement strategy.

How a robust engagement strategy enabled by a healthcare CRM can help organizations increase care access and provide a better consumer experience

From the acceleration of digital health to the ever-growing number of communication platforms, consumer expectations and preferences for how they interact with their health system are rapidly evolving.

The desire for more digital functionality and personalized interactions makes it clear that healthcare organizations need to expand how and where they engage with consumers to keep patients healthy and happy.

Healthcare retailers, technology companies, and other market disrupters will continue to challenge patient loyalty as they find innovative ways to deliver convenient, digitally enabled healthcare experiences that consumers want.

Organizations should plan for how shifts in care settings, from telehealth to acute care in the home, will increase the volume of interactions outside their walls, which further supports the need for robust engagement strategies.

With care access among the top care transformation challenges identified by healthcare leaders, an omnichannel engagement strategy is crucial to providing a seamless access experience — inside and outside the organization.

Health systems are making headway in diversifying their engagement channels, but to deliver an omnichannel experience, leaders need to focus on connecting and coordinating interactions across channels.

Breaking Down Communication Siloes

Most consumers today use more than one channel to communicate and engage with organizations. When these interactions are siloed and disconnected, consumers are left to make sense of disparate and often conflicting information, leading to poor experiences, or even worse, poor outcomes.

As consumers transition between channels, the flow of communication and information should be continuous, building off previous interactions. To create this seamless journey, organizations need visibility into consumers’ touch points to understand where they are in their care journey to facilitate more informed conversations and connect patients with the proper care.

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms like Salesforce provide the crucial infrastructure to track these touch points and support patient engagement across channels. As organizations consider enterprise platforms like CRM, they should begin with stakeholder alignment on priority use cases as they look to improve the broader consumer and patient experience.

Enabling an Omnichannel Experience With a Healthcare CRM

While Huron’s research into healthcare’s digital, technology, and analytics landscape finds that leaders are showing a greater interest in CRM investments, there’s still some uncertainty about its value in healthcare.

Here are four ways healthcare organizations can use Salesforce to support an omnichannel access strategy and improve the consumer experience and journey:

Extending the Value of CRM

Ultimately, the goal of a CRM is to engage, acquire, and retain consumers, but when intentionally integrated within an organization’s technology ecosystem, organizations can evolve how they interact with patients and unlock the value of an omnichannel approach.

As healthcare organizations make progress in re-imagining the access experience to better meet consumers’ needs and preferences, the role of a healthcare CRM like Salesforce can be expanded beyond the access center. From improving collaboration throughout the entire consumer journey to enhancing patient-provider relationships, building stronger care networks, and quantifying marketing return on investment, CRM has the potential to enable transformation across the organization. Developing a vision for the health system’s long-term CRM approach will be essential to maximizing the technology’s value.

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