Specialists On Call (SOC) is the largest provider of emergency telemedicine consultations to US hospitals, giving them immediate access to highly trained neurologists over the Internet. To grow its business, SOC created a full-featured sales and patient management system by using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The project took just 90 days, cost US$200,000 less than other solutions, and gave SOC a single system for managing sales, hospitals, and patient cases.
In the United States, there is a lack of emergency neurologists to take care of all emergency neurology patients. Specialists On Call (SOC) was founded in 2005 to fill this void, using technology to increase the efficiency of doctors. Based in Westlake Village, California, and Leesburg, Virginia, SOC provides hundreds of smaller and midsize US hospitals with round-the-clock access to affiliated, highly trained specialty physicians.
|By using a single system to manage sales, customers, and patients, we can more holistically manage all our customers over the long haul, in terms of tracking performance and customer satisfaction.|
| Karen Deli, |
Executive Vice President, Specialists On Call
If an emergency-room physician determines that a patient needs a neurology consultant, he or she calls the toll-free SOC number. Within minutes, the two physicians are consulting by phone or video conference, with the SOC specialist examining the patient’s brain scans at a distance and even speaking with the patient’s family.
SOC used Salesforce.com to manage its sales cycle, when it brought new hospitals into the fold, but had no automated customer or patient management systems. “Salesforce.com was expensive and inflexible, and didn’t help us after hospitals became customers,” says Karen Deli, Executive Vice President for Specialists On Call. “We had very manual processes for managing our customer relationships and individual patient cases. We realized that these were two very important pieces of missing technology, and we needed systems for both that were reliable, scalable, and flexible.” Solution
SOC learned about Microsoft Dynamics CRM business management software and became interested in using it to replace Salesforce.com and to manage customers. However, SOC assumed that it would need to purchase a separate clinical management system for handling individual patient cases.
SOC met a local solutions provider that opened up the possibilities of using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to do it all. The company put together a proposal that cost less than one-tenth of competitive bids, recommending Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the Microsoft-hosted version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The provider also promised a 90-day deployment. “We were skeptical at first about using Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a clinical system, but the more we learned about its capabilities, the more we saw the logic of handling prospect, customer, and patient management through a single software program,” says Deli.
Today, SOC salespeople use Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to manage thousands of leads. When a hospital becomes a customer, account managers take advantage of all the contacts and information that the salespeople gathered during the sales process to help maintain the company’s relationship with the hospital.
What is most exciting, though, is how SOC is using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online as a state-of-the-art clinical application. When SOC call-center operators collect patient information over the phone, they enter it into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. SOC specialists also enter their recommendations directly into the system. “These are all emergency cases, so the system has to be extremely reliable and provide consistent output in terms of what our clients see,” says Chris Treptow, Senior Systems Manager for Specialists on Call. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is flexible enough to support all these tasks.”
SOC customized Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to accommodate clinical needs. For example, a countdown clock appears at the bottom of the screen from the moment a consultation begins. This tells physicians how long they have to make a decision before a particular treatment option is no longer viable, based on the patient’s condition. The application also advises physicians on medications, based on the treatment options they entered.
When specialists complete a consultation, they press a button that produces a report with timestamps that accompany every event during the process; this report is automatically faxed to the on-site physician for documentation. In the event of an audit, or if someone raises questions about the time windows of service delivery, the information is available at the touch of a button. Benefits
By using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, SOC was able to deploy a single solution to manage sales, customers, and patients. The project took just 90 days, cost US$200,000 less than competitive bids, gives SOC a holistic view of its customers, and helps hospitals with accreditation. Cost-Effective, 90-Day Deployment
SOC deployed the full-featured, hosted CRM solution from Microsoft in 90 days, rather than six months, and avoided the approximately $200,000 expense of acquiring a separate clinical management system. “Because we now have automated processes for all aspects of our business, we can handle more growth without adding more staff,” says Robert Ritchie, Operations Vice President at Specialists On Call. More Holistic Customer Management
Equipped with a CRM solution, SOC has improved customer service as well. “By using a single system to manage sales, customers, and patients, we can more holistically manage all our customers over the long haul, in terms of tracking performance and customer satisfaction,” Deli says. “A happy customer is likely to be a long-term customer and a good referral source.” Better Accreditation Compliance for Customers
Most SOC hospitals are accredited by The Joint Commission, an independent healthcare-accrediting organization in the United States. To maintain that accreditation, SOC is required to keep data that shows service efficiency and quality of patient care. “Because we store all this information in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, we are able to give our customers a great deal of this data, relieving them of the need to collect it separately,” Deli says.
SOC can now offer its services even more broadly by using a customer and patient management system that can scale to answer millions of calls for help.