Understanding the enormous impact weight loss can have on overall health, Virtua Health prioritized resources to grow its bariatric service line while improving patient outcomes using a digital engagement and activation campaign that far exceeded its goals – and positively impacted hundreds of patient lives.
By adjusting the original goal of its campaign from acquiring new patients to nurturing relationships with existing ones, the health system nearly doubled the industry average open rate by deploying a series of weekly emails containing content customized to recipients. In turn, it experienced a remarkable 41% increase in bariatric surgery volume.
Marketing Manager, Services Lines
Tom Bradach (00:02):
Okay, welcome everyone to the SHSMD virtual conference session, To Nudge and To Nurture: Poising Patients for a Healthy Future Using CRM Intelligence. Before introducing our speakers, I want to welcome you all to submit questions throughout this presentation. In the chat panel located at the bottom right of your screen, please direct questions to all panelists. Questions will be addressed at the end of the presentation. And additionally, this session is being recorded and will be posted in the virtual portal within the next 24 hours. You can also download the presentation slides, which are available inside the virtual platform now. So today we have the fortune of being joined by Bridget Reuter, Marketing Manager of service lines at Virtua Health, and Alan Tam, Vice President of Marketing at Actium Health. Bridget and Alan, the floor is yours.
Bridget Reuter (00:51):
Thank you, Tom. Morning, Alan. We are going to talk today about the benefits of CRM intelligence, but most importantly, we’re going to talk about the impact of understanding that patient journey and where we have opportunities to build relationships and inspire action using patient data to really understand lifetime value of our patients, and also the pipeline for multiple service lines and how we can really utilize that. And this wonderful woman here, her name is Monica, she’s one of our Virtua patients. She lost over 150 pounds. She’s now in her seventies and has really reclaimed her health. And you will see more of our weight loss champions throughout our presentation.
So just to start off, I’ll tell you it’s a little bit about Virtua Health. We are located in Southern New Jersey. It’s a very competitive market. We’re 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. We are the largest health system in South Jersey, five hospitals, 400 care locations, 14,000 colleagues, and continuing to grow. So I would like to start us off with a short video that really helps you sort of understand how we view our patients and understanding their journey to weight loss surgery.
This is why it is, this is one of my very favorite service lines and favorite campaigns to work on because the stories are just amazing and inspiring. So what do we know? Just a little bit of background on the impact of obesity. Bariatric surgery is the most effective and lasting treatment for severe obesity resulting in not only weight loss, but also improvement of many related diseases. In the last 20 years, the prevalence of obesity has increased by almost 40%, and severe obesity is almost doubled. But we know that according to the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Society, that Americans who are eligible for weight loss surgery, that’s they meet the BMI or the comorbidity requirement. Out of that population, only 1% choose to have weight loss surgery.
So we started a campaign, this is several years ago. We started with a digital strategy and we ran search and social and then added YouTube featuring these amazing patient stories. We were targeting patient, or excuse me, consumers who were actively shopping for and searching for a weight loss surgery options and continuing to use these compelling, relatable stories. And it did very well. We increased our registration for info sessions. We actually saw an overall increase of surgical volume, 9%. And through a very manual process, we were able to attribute 49 surgeries in that year to our marketing efforts. But how do we reach that other 99%? We have thousands of patients. Bariatric surgery we know is the most effective and lasting treatment for severe obesity, but only 1% are actively seeking weight loss surgery. So I will turn this over to Alan to talk about how we were able to use some of these wonderful tools to reach that other 99%.
Alan Tam (06:42):
Awesome, thank you Bridget. Thank you. So one of the key things at Virtua health, and just with most healthcare marketers in general, we know that new patient acquisition is pretty limiting in terms of driving patient volume, right? There’s only so many new patients that are out there driving volume, especially with a campaign for bariatric surgery can be challenging. So as indicated by Bridget here, how do we reach the other 99%? The challenge for many healthcare marketers is the fact that your existing patients is a gold mine for outreach. And even in the case of achieving all 99% of those patients, does your health system even have the capacities to serve those patients? So it shouldn’t really be a surprise that targeting and activating your existing patient population is the right approach, right? After all, as a health system, we know our patients the best. We have their information, and a lot of that information is unfortunately available, fortunately and unfortunately available in EMR, your data silos.
But theoretically, you should know which patients are at the highest risk. You should know which patients you should be reaching out to for a particular campaign. You should know which patients have the care gaps and need access to care. But we all know it’s not that simple. And that’s been a challenge for many health systems and many healthcare marketers today. So I’d like to start off with understanding who I’m talking to in the audience. I’d like to know if you all are marketing directly to your patients today. I think this is pretty important, pretty eye-opening. Bridget, what are some of the ways that you’re marketing to your existing patients today? Maybe give us a little bit of a preview and what are some of the biggest challenges for you on that front?
Bridget Reuter (08:54):
Sure. Well, I think it is relatively new for us, and I think a lot of hospitals and health systems to utilize that patient database for marketing purposes. It’s also a very touchy subject. Not everyone in the organization is eager. We had to proceed very carefully in, and there was a lot of leadership conversations on how we would be able to use that information to be able to provide and market additional services to our patients. But it’s not traditionally how we did things certainly. And I would suspect that’s the case for a lot of people. But we are having a lot of luck with many campaigns now, orthopedics, cardiology, not just bariatric surgery.
Alan Tam (09:40):
Fantastic. And so, wow, it’s pretty interesting to see some of the results here. Many of you are marketing to your existing patients, some of you are not today, and some of you haven’t answered yet. But the goal of this presentation, what Bridget and I want to accomplish is to share with you if you are interested in doing so. This is the right strategy approach for driving patient volume and getting patients into your system. And so hopefully by the end of this presentation, you’ll have a good understanding as to how to get started and what this can mean for your organization and really just for your KPIs and your key goals. So let me follow up with another question here that will help me, my talk track for the next few slides. I’d like to understand how many of you today have a CRM in place at your health organization.
If you wouldn’t mind just taking a minute to complete the poll. On the right hand side, we have a few answers, but as I talk to many health systems, it’s really interesting how many healthcare marketers and healthcare systems define CRM. Some of the more common answers that I typically receive, and some of the ways that health systems are defining CRM is they’re looking at it much more so from a technology versus a strategy perspective. And many actually forget about the strategy and the execution piece. Or in some cases they actually confuse it with marketing automation. One of the most common answers that I receive when asking healthcare marketers or healthcare systems about CRM technology is, “Oh, we’re looking for a technology or solution that outreaches to patients.” And typically that outreach is email or text. And in many cases, that’s more of a marketing automation technology versus CRM.
So understanding the technology piece versus the strategy piece, I think is extremely critical. And then there are some health systems where their CRM strategy is, we need to have Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, and as long as we have those systems in place, it’s a check mark. And so I think it’s really critical for our healthcare marketers and health systems in general to understand that having a CRM technology in place does not necessarily achieve the strategy and the execution of the program that you’ve set out for yourself. And in many cases, that is the result, the results in the failure of a CRM strategy. So based on the audience here, it’s great to know that more than half of you actually have a CRM technology in place, and 27% of you guys don’t have yet. And that’s okay. And it’s good to know that some of you are looking to implement that type of technology in the foreseeable future.
So last piece of communication I want to share with you here is it’s really important to understand CRM as customer relationship management versus a technology piece. What I’ve learned in talking to many of you is that healthcare systems don’t know what to expect, nor do they have clearly defined objectives and goals for their CRM. And that is so important and critical to the success of your implementation, of your strategy and of the campaigns and outreach that you’re doing. In many cases, and I’ve seen this in multiple CRM RFPs from health systems, it kind of becomes a kitchen sink for everything that the healthcare marketer wants or needs. And so that’s important to keep in mind. So with that, I’d like to move forward and just talk about how we can get back to activating your existing patients. How can we leverage that customer relationship management strategy and program and take advantage of all the data and tools that you have today?
And really, if you look at all the tools and solutions at your disposal, your existing patients, that is truly your biggest advantage. No one knows your patient community better than you, your competitors don’t. Retail health doesn’t. Your patients want to hear from you and they want to make sure that they hear that right message. Just a quick sidebar here, earlier this year we actually did a couple of healthcare consumer surveys and we found that 62% of patients actually want to hear more from their doctors this year. And that’s an increase of the same survey that we did in 21. And this is across the board from the COVID information, from the pandemic to general health information to preventive screenings, this continues to trend up and it’ll probably, continue to trend up in 2023. We’ll plan to do another survey in 23, but every year that we’ve been doing this, it’s been trending up and up and up.
So your patients definitely want to hear more from you in terms of getting the right information to help them on their journey. So as a healthcare marketer and as a healthcare system, how do you find that right information, right? There’s so much. How do you comb through all the data silos from your EMR to PopHealth to I’m sure we’re all experienced with all the spreadsheets that we deal with each and every single day. How do we make sense of that data and how do we make it usable? And more importantly, how do you measure the success and effectiveness of your campaigns? So Bridget mentioned earlier with the acquisition campaign, it was very challenging. It was really hard to measure the success of those particular campaigns to bring in brand new bariatric patients. And at the end of that particular program, they were only unable to bring in 49 net new patients to that campaign.
Again, that’s only the 1% of what they were targeting. How do you reach that additional 99%? So this is where technology like CRM Intelligence comes into play. And it’s not in the sense of CRM application per se, but think of it going back to it’s a customer relationship management intelligence as a strategy and as a program, it’s powered by AI and artificial intelligence so that it can help you quickly and effectively find correlations and insights that drive action and it could automatically execute on those insights to activate the patients who are most in need. And it does so by leveraging, again, your existing patient information, connecting to your data silos like your EMR, like your PopHealth, being able to predict and to prioritize patients who are at highest risk, who have the largest care gaps, whatever objective that your health system has set up, then activating, automatically reaching out and activating those patients.
And that’s where the magic comes in. The challenge that many healthcare systems have today is that this is all the data information is siloed. It’s a very manual process. They may have a significant amount of BI tools that are leveraged, that showed some level of insights, but then by the time that patient list gets out to the marketing team, to the call centers, et cetera, it’s already out of date and it’s no longer as effective as it could be. Again, your patients want to hear from you. The challenge is getting them the right message at the right time versus getting it to them either too late or in some cases, “But I’ve already scheduled this appointment, why are you asking me to do the same thing?” That doesn’t really make sense and it doesn’t deliver the patient experience that they’ve come to expect from a health system like yourself.
So how does CRM intelligence work? It connects to all the data that you have and it makes sense of your patient data sets. Manually, it’s impossible, right? That’s why you want to leverage technology to bring you those particular insights to connect to that data and develop what I’d like to call tailored AI models. Imagine if you can have custom tailored AI models based on your specific patient demographic and information. How powerful is that? How powerful that you have these tailored AI models that you can leverage to get your patients to care, to be able to identify and to predict those patient needs, those preferences and what’s coming. And to prioritize outreach. For those of you that have had the opportunity to work with your PopHealth teams and perhaps your front office desks and call centers, oftentimes today they’re dealt with spreadsheets and they start dialing the folks on the spreadsheet.
And in many cases, what if your last name is starts with a Z? You may never get called. And so that’s the challenge with a lot of the manual process that are out there today. How can we automate that? And then how can we reach out to those patients in a manner that they want to be reached out to? Whether it’s text, whether it’s a via phone call, whether it’s via email, being able to seamlessly take all that intelligence and all that information. And on top of that, layering on the fact that do I have a capacity to support these patients that I’m reaching out to? The worst thing that can happen in many cases that I’ve heard even from some of our existing clients is we did this amazing campaign, we outreached to all our patients, and then the service lines start calling health marketing and says, “Stop, You got to stop the campaign. We just don’t have the availability or the providers to see all these patients right now.”
So understanding, do I have that capacity to see these patients is going to be really important, and that’s going to be really important to not only the success of your campaigns, but also in terms of delighting your patient and delivering that patient experience that you want them to experience from your particular brand. So key benefits of CRM intelligence that I want to share with all of you is that, look, healthcare never stops. And quite honestly, neither should your campaigns, right? Breast cancer just exist in the month of October and Men’s Health, hopefully it just doesn’t matter only in June. It matters throughout the year, and it matters for everyone and the right folks. So being able to have these always on intelligent campaigns becomes extremely critical. You want to, because healthcare is ongoing, you want to be able to maximize and not only maximize the optimal, optimize patient volume, you want to be able to have that direct impact to sustainable top line revenue growth.
And you’re going to be able to see a three to five x plus ROI. And Bridget’s going to talk a little bit more about that later on. Leveraging capacity sensing and optimization throttling your outreach based on the capacity that your system has and utilization rates. This is really important that you can’t do something like this manually, and that’s why you want to leverage the technology piece here to help you be more intelligent, to help you be more effective so that your campaigns can reach the right patients and get them in at the right time. Another area is attribution, and as a marketer, don’t think of attribution as an answer per se, but rather it’s the insights that can help you continually improve and to optimize your campaigns and outreach. Being able to understand where are my campaigns most effective at driving appointments and encounters? Where are they falling short?
Where can I continually improve so that I can streamline the process and even get greater results from the campaign? And then finally, being able to engage and activate patients by making sure they receive the right message at the right time. These are the core capabilities and benefits that will help you achieve these positive patient outcomes and help retain your patients and generate greater lifetime value. So let me end with where does this fit? So a lot of people love this technology. “This is amazing Alan, I love what you’re saying here, but help me understand if I have a CRM, if I do, I need a CRM, tell me, help me understand where this fits in my MarTech stack or within my ecosystem.” And in terms of activating your existing patient community, there are only really the two types of outreach and communications. There’s the always on it evergreen and those that are more ad hoc.
In fact, both of those are complimentary to each other. And so when you’re thinking about communications like breast cancer awareness month, new facilities opening, new providers that are joining your organization, those are more ad hoc, one off type of campaigns that supplement, you’re always on evergreen campaigns. These always on campaigns for many of you today are actually manually administered and through some type of workflows. They could be call centers, it could be email blasts, it could be newsletters. The CRM intelligence piece complements this. If you have a CRM, it feeds activity logs into your enterprise CRM if you have one that’s available. Otherwise, the activity is also logged within the intelligence solution, and it helps power your marketing automation with real time patient lists.
So if you have a Marketo or Eloqua or whatever, what have you, your CRM intelligence can actually feed into those particular systems. And the direct patient outreach can actually happen via your CRM and solution as well, or your marketing automation tool depending on how your workflow is set up. So now I’m going to turn it back to Bridget, who’s going to share with you how Virtua is actually using CRM intelligence to reach the other 99% of their bariatric campaign. Bridget, back to you.
Bridget Reuter (25:23):
Alan. Well, so how do we use all this CRM intelligence to get back to our bariatric patients? Do this? Alan didn’t go into a lot of detail, but the propensity model. By partnering with Actium, we were able to develop a propensity model to identify patients who would likely benefit from weight loss surgery in the next year. We found 48,000 patients within our database with active email addresses. So now what do we do with them? Because they didn’t ask for bariatric surgery, they didn’t even ask for weight loss information, but we believe that they could benefit from this treatment. So we focused on nurturing and building a relationship with that patient. We are going to measure our success by looking at how many patients are opting into our Nurture series, and of course all of the traditional measurements of seminar registration and new patient encounters, but being able to track that through to not just surgical volume, but also revenue attribution. So we’ll get to some more of those details.
We started with a nurture campaign, and this is a series about building relationships and building trust and familiarity with our health system. Even though they were a patient in our health system, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have recently used our services. So we want to get them familiar with our philosophy of care. And we understand that this takes time because again, these are not patients who asked for this information.
We also know that considering bariatric surgery is a long, there’s a long consideration phase for this life changing commitment to this procedure. So we started with a very soft CTA and outreach email inviting people to sign up for our email series, Small Steps to Healthy Success. We also followed that up with a non-responder email because many of us, like myself, are very guilty of not opening my personal emails right away. And then we had, of course, our nudge process for anyone who opened the email but did not take immediate action. We sent a follow up email. We tested personalized subject lines, but we never talked about weight loss. In those initial outreaches, we were able to double the industry average for our open rate with our nurture outreach. So what does that nurture series look like?
Once someone subscribed, they would start to receive weekly emails. Topics include seven ways to curb nighttime snacking, ways to get more steps in your day. They would alternate those messages with topics around snoring, diabetes, high blood pressure, so all obesity related conditions after someone engaged with those disease topics, that’s where we started to introduce dynamic content. So we would have a secondary CTA within that nurture email that would introduce a topic like download a free guide to weight loss, or is bariatric surgery right for me? Take this quiz. So as someone started interacting more with those topics, we started to introduce those weight loss, gently introducing those weight loss topics. And there was also a secondary CTA about learn more about bariatric surgery, attend a free no obligation webinar. By email 12, which at the time was the last email in our series. We provided a patient story about Monica.
She was the first patient that you saw at the beginning with the Superman shirt. We were still seeing conversion at email number 12. So we extended that nurture series to 16. And as a result, within that first month of the extended series, we had a 30%, or 30% of our leads came from those last four emails. So we could see that our message was resonating. We recently added text messaging, so we’re now every other week with email, and on the in between weeks, we’re sending a test text message to supplement the nurture and add another touchpoint. We just started in July. We did a survey of those who are opted in for the text messaging, and it was extremely positive feedback. We’re including things like links to healthy recipes, reminders to drink water, and encouraging messages. So again, we understand it’s a long conversion process, a long consideration phase.
So we are very careful with our messaging when nurturing this particular patient group. So we have, because of the magic of CRM, we have this great patient journey that we can really dive into and understand the journey of a real patient. So Eliza is 31 years old. That is not her real name and not her real photo, but this is her story and her journey, and we can track the connections and conversions throughout the process. In October, she received an outreach email. Two weeks later we sent her a nudge. We, on every landing page, we have a dropdown option to schedule up, to request an appointment. In addition to just planning up for nurture, you can also, if you’re ready to schedule an appointment, and we have a drop down menu. And within there, one of the options is to choose a bariatric surgery consult.
And Eliza was ready because she requested that consult in less than a month, she had her consult. She was scheduled with her bariatric surgeon for her initial appointment. It’s a four to six month preparation process for bariatric surgery. There’s eight to 10 steps along the way before your surgery is even scheduled. And those steps include pulmonology, nutrition, mental health assessment, lab work, all of those preoperative workups. So you’ll see we can track those because she was flagged initially as coming in through our campaign, were able to really track her journey leading up to her surgery. So from the time she re received our initial outreach, six months later, Eliza had her bariatric surgery and is continuing to follow up with her postop appointments and attending our bariatric support group. This is just one of many inspiring and motivating stories about our patients along the bariatric journey and that we have this kind of insight now is just, it’s phenomenal.
So how did we, it all pan out for us? Over the lifetime of the campaign, we’ve reached 132,000 patients with unique open rate of 30% with our, then we send our non-responder outreach, we see a 31% lift and leave. And then the additional nudge email, we saw another 11 and a half lift in conversions signing up for our Nurture series. Total contribution for this campaign for all patient encounters is 8,500 patient encounters. Now that includes all service lines so [inaudible 00:33:05] pulmonology primary care, but they’re all directly attributed to this campaign, really understanding in that lifetime value that Alan had mentioned earlier. So we take a look at a full year that you can see across this graph that our leads for 2021, really our acquisition strategy is always on our SEM and social media ads. Those are really strong drivers for this campaign. The blue are the appointment requests and the orange are total leads.
So forms and calls, but not just appointment leads, just also includes our nurture opt-ins. The spikes are where we had each of our CRM outreach emails throughout the year, and you can really see what a difference that makes in this campaign. Now the one thing I will say is we have to be careful not to get too carried away with our success because each time we would refresh the propensity model and launch another outreach, it’s very tempting to go right for that direct CPA. And we’ve had to kind of reign in our team a little bit because we talk about bariatric surgery all the time, and we have to continue to remind our team and remind ourselves that this is, these are not patients who signed up for bariatric surgery, not yet. They’re not ready for that message yet. So we do have to really be mindful of how we’re communicating and what we’re talking about with this audience.
So that brings me back to, let’s see how we did our 38,000 patients subscribe to our Small Steps to Healthy Success nurture series. We saw a 53% increase in new patient appointments directly contributed to the marketing campaign. Overall, bariatric surgery was up 41%. And through a lot of careful work and conversations with our partner Actium, and with finance and leadership, we can now directly attribute $3 million in revenue to our bariatric marketing campaign that more than pays for my budget and we are impacting lives when it comes down to it at the end of the day. I think that’s why we all got into this profession. So I have one more short video to share with you to help illustrate another one of our patient journeys and how we are truly impacting lives.
Tom, if you could roll that video. So that is Brandon, and that’s just one, let me turn my video back on. That’s just one piece of his story. There’s a much longer version of his video on the virtual website, but we just pulled a little vignette today. My favorite part is the end. I think we can all relate to wearing a bathing suit that fits. So that I think leads us to the questions portion of our session. I think we have about 10 minutes or so that we can answer some questions. I see a few here in the chat.
Alan Tam (37:05):
Bridget, one of the questions,
Bridget Reuter (37:06):
Alan Tam (37:11):
Yeah. One of the questions that I think would be good to answer is from Jane. Jane says they have a strict HIPAA compliance rule that does not allow them to target patients with specific needs or conditions. How did you guys navigate that?
Bridget Reuter (37:28):
Right, so I think that’s a good question and I’m trying to search in my brain because it was a process for sure, and I know that Actium was able to help us sort look at some of those best practices. We never, of course refer to the condition. We never acknowledge in any way that someone needs or could benefit from this. It is a healthy tips series. So that is one of the ways that we were able, and we were able to get permission to use our patient database to provide information about services, new services that could benefit patients as long as it was presented in a general way that did not identify their conditions.
I would have to pull, I might be able to pull up some more details. I could certainly follow up at another time and share some more information. But I know it was a process that we worked on with compliance and with IT, and we did go through a pretty lengthy process, but once we partnered with Actium and they were really, in fact not just a vendor but a real partner within our health system for this process that really was, we were able to open some more of those doors. I hope that answers and that was sort of vaguely specific.
Alan Tam (38:57):
Sure. I’ll just add on top of that, I think that absolutely all our clients are our health systems and we all have to deal with the HIPAA compliance in general. I mean, this is a very general answer and it’s really about, we’re not targeting patients with specific needs or conditions per se, but we’re identifying the propensity models that Bridget shared are built on your AI models that identify highest risk patients. And the outreach is fairly generic in terms of assessing whether or not something may be of use to them or relevant to them. So similar to much more the broad-based campaigns or broadcast marketing campaigns that a lot of health systems do today, but just more specifically focused on audience segments, not necessarily specific patients. And it’s a much more general approach. And that’s something that we’re more than happy to sit down with any of you on and help guide you through that process.
Bridget Reuter (40:09):
Alan Tam (40:09):
Bridget Reuter (40:09):
There’s a question here for Alan. For you, it says, do you still have, if you don’t have CRM, what should someone consider before investing in one?
Alan Tam (40:18):
Yeah, absolutely. I think that varies, right? It depends on there’s, there’s so many CRM systems that are out there and it really depends on your specific needs and your specific requirements. And I think that’s going to be an important process that a lot of health systems actually need to flesh out. The biggest thing that I would advise on when looking at a CRM solution is please look at it from a strategy and a program perspective versus we need CRM where you need to put a CRM in place, checkbox, and that’s it.
What are you trying to accomplish with this CRM? What are the KPIs? I’ve seen so many health systems that have implemented CRM and they don’t even use it, or it’s a failed implementation because they can’t attribute the ROI or the effectiveness of the CRM. So that’s going to be really important is understanding your use cases, your programs, what your strategy is, and how are you going to measure the success of having a CRM in place. And I think that goes without saying for any healthcare marketer that’s out there, anything that you guys invest in or any campaigns start to run. So that would be my advice on CRM.
Bridget Reuter (41:42):
Yeah, just another question. That’s good. I agree. As another question of related to that, in being able to get leadership buy in and spend on data analytics and CRM, and I, it took a while and certainly that was a conversation and a negotiation above my level. But I will say that with Bariatrics as an example, that was one of our first digital campaigns, and we were able to, I worked very closely with the service line lead and we talked often about what did her numbers look like, what could she track? Within Epic, we set up a system with, again, it was very manual, but we set up a system with our call center. So when leads came in, and this was before CRM, we were asking how they heard about it, we were marking them in the system and we were tracking those patients through lots of room for error in that process.
But we were able to show a direct correlation and we knew we were only capturing a small percentage. So if we could capture this much and measure this and show the value, we knew what that contribution margin was for a bariatric surgery. And then we started figuring out what are all those other steps along the way leading up to bariatric surgery. So we really started in a very basic way of trying to attribute or show the attribution of what we were bringing to the organization. From there, it really became obvious that we needed a better way. And like I said, there was definitely leadership support at a higher level for being able to track this attribution and to be able to use the technology in a way that was going to be a much more effective outreach, not just to our patients, but to our community.
So I think there’s a couple steps in that process, but for my part, it started with getting to those numbers and showing that contribution margin and everyone that we could show and working with the service line and having their buy in, understanding the value of marketing and that process, we also worked really closely together. And I think that’s sort that teamwork and how that can be really important in understanding how to convert leads if they signed up for an information seminar, were they making a phone call to them the next day and getting them converted to an appointment. So that was also part of that partnership with the service line in helping to improve those conversions. Nope. Are we okay? I think we could answer a couple more questions.
Alan Tam (44:25):
Yeah, I do want to call out a Alan Shoebridge made some really good comments to some of the questions that I want to highlight as well. In case people aren’t on chat, HIPAA doesn’t restrict educational efforts about services that patients need. So thank you for that addition there, Allen. And also, in terms of implementing a CRM, Allen makes a fantastic point on the fact that you need to have someone on staff to manage and on that vendor relationship into playing campaigns. I think that’s also one of the biggest thing is that who owns CRM in the organization? So make sure that you have the right folks as part of that process, because that will dictate whether or not you succeed with your CRM implementation.
Bridget Reuter (45:18):
That’s for sure. And I think having marketing, marketing controls our CRM.
Alan Tam (45:25):
Bridget Reuter (45:27):
And that makes a difference versus IT. But as far as the outreach and it really comes through, marketing has really drives that and how we, Yeah. Now there’s a lot of other tech that goes with that, that’s part of our IT partnership.
Alan Tam (45:48):
Bridget, there’s a couple questions here, I want to combine them into one specifically for Virtua. One question is, do you use another CRM tool or just Actium? And then the following question from someone else, has Virtua used this email nurturing strategy with other service lines or conditions? And if so, what were the results?
Bridget Reuter (46:11):
Sure, yeah. So Actium is our main partner for CRM. Marketo is another tool that we use with our Actium platform to develop our landing pages and track our conversions. And then of course, it all fits together with Epic. So that’s kind of the pieces of that puzzle. We also have blanking, it’ll come back to me. There’s another piece where we help to identify consumers, consumer habits and traits that we can use through some of our marketing outreach. But as far as the Nurture series, yes, we actually use that in all of our CRM campaigns. It’s not the first, it’s always the message like it is with bariatrics. That one is specifically a soft CT, as I mentioned, but for our spine surgery, if our back pain CRM outreach, we have a nurture series there about exercises and things to keep moving and reduce back pain for those people who are not ready for surgery.
Because a lot of people who deal with back pain but are not necessarily signing up for spinal surgery just yet. Maybe they need it, but they’re not ready for it. So that’s part of that nurture process of being able to introduce different services along the way while having these very friendly conversations about all the things that we know as related to that topic. We also have a women’s health nurture series that we, as part of another CRM outreach, we have heart health, another one that’s around our cardiology service line, but it’s a heart health nurture series. We’ve had a lot of success with all of them.
Alan Tam (48:03):
Fantastic. All right. Let me take a look here. Tom, How much time do we have left? Want to make sure we get to as many of these questions as possible?
Tom Bradach (48:17):
We two minutes.
Alan Tam (48:19):
Okay. Another question from Lindsey here, Bridget, did you guys work with your providers to help them guide direct prospective patients to some of your marketing tactics as well? Example, encouraging them to have patients opt in to messaging, newsletters, et cetera.
Bridget Reuter (48:38):
Patients who were already in the bariatric pipeline? We did not, no. We did exclude them actually from our outreach efforts. But we have navigators, patient navigators for bariatric surgery. We have a Facebook support groups. So there are other methods and channels for communicating with patients who are actively in that process or who have completed bariatric surgery and in their really their maintenance stage. We do have some great methods to continue in engaging with those patients.
I will just go, I’ll move us ahead to a couple of our last slides here. Of course, if you have any questions, I think Alan and I are both very open and willing to have some conversations. It’s really been our pleasure to share this with you today. And these are just a couple of our quick takeaways. Again, our patient acquisition tactics are always on for this particular service line as far as SEM and sharing our great patient success stories through social. For us, our most powerful strategy is the patient point of view. And then really being able to win over leadership through those attribution results is just, it’s priceless, really. And it takes an amazing team, which I alluded to earlier, certainly our service line colleagues, our partner with Axiom, we also partner with Eruptr, who many of you may know for SEM and social as part of this campaign. And Alan, I will leave that last one to you. That CRM is a verb, not a noun.
Alan Tam (50:21):
Yeah. So yeah, I’ve been harping on that piece through my section, and this is really all meant to help you guys be successful. It is a verb and it’s a always on verb, right? It’s never ending process, and we have to constantly refine that. I think we share some great insights today in the chat channel on the right hand side here. But as Bridget mentioned, we didn’t get a chance to get to all the questions. I think we got through most of them, and both her and I would be more than happy to continue the conversation. If you just reach out to us, here’s our email. You can get ahold of us and we’d be more than happy to answer any of the additional questions that you guys might have. So thank you so much to all of you for joining us today. We hope you found this session extremely valuable, and I’ll hand it back to you, Tom.
Tom Bradach (51:18):
All right, Well, thank you so much, Bridget and Allen for sharing your expertise with us today. As a reminder, this session was recorded and we’ll be posted in the virtual portal within the next 24 hours. So our next session starts at the top of the hour, which is a brand promise can shape culture, engage employees, and deliver better patient care. You can access the next webinar through the portal agenda page under the live session tab. Please be sure to complete the brief evaluation at the end, which will pop up in your browser once we close this out. So that concludes this session. Thank you, and I hope to see you at the next session.
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