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Patient Relationship Management

Definition - What does Patient Relationship Management mean?

Patient relationship management, in the context of IT, refers to technologies that help medical providers relate to their patients in the same way that other kinds of businesses relate to their customers. Patient relationship management systems can help provider offices work more efficiently, improve the quality of patient care and service, and even complement the different kinds of digital medical records technologies that are now being incentivized by the U.S. federal government under the HITECH Act.

Techopedia explains Patient Relationship Management

The idea of patient relationship management is a broad one. Some of the tools used for managing patient relationships deal with scheduling, reminder calls or getting information to the patient, whereas others may deal with billing and the financial aspects of patient care. Other tools revolve around the clinical experience.

One aspect of patient relationship management may involve digitizing health information or even locating the position of patients within a provider building, to make information more accessible. Another aspect may focus on the patient experience and the communications that patients have at the office. This may include the use of follow-up software that automatically asks patients questions, when they have gone home, about how they were treated, or keep them informed about their health conditions and ongoing treatment.

Medical providers have to think about some critical issues when sourcing and using patient relationship management. One is the compliance with industry standards like HIPAA that regulate the use of a patient's health information. Other issues involve how the technology works with people — for instance, whether volunteers, clinical staff or office workers are doing the human interfacing with patients at the office, and how they can best be assisted by patient relationship management tools.

As with other kinds of industries, patient relationship management and other software tools are revolutionizing the way that doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are able to treat and communicate with patients. It is part of an overall process of innovating records management and communications in the health-care industry that is putting pressure on providers, but, ultimately, leading toward a more transparent and user-friendly experience for patients.

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