You wouldn’t go to a cobbler to make you a hat and you wouldn’t go to a cabinet maker to build you a table, so why would you go to a CRM to build a customized health engagement platform? Just because CRMs know a thing or two about communication and contact management doesn’t mean they’re the right solution for healthcare.

To drive home the point, take this healthcare example. You could go to a primary care doctor with health concerns about your diet and they could offer high-level solutions that might work. But, primary care physicians aren’t experts in this area. You’re much better off seeing a dietician. These specialists dedicate their lives to knowing how to solve the specific, complex problems you’re facing. They’ll have the expertise you need to make the right healthcare decisions for yourself versus the vague solutions you could get from a non-expert. The same logic can be applied to health engagement.

Just because the word “healthcare” proceeds CRM doesn’t make it an effective health engagement tool.

It’s time to think twice about using a CRM for your health engagement efforts. This is about people’s healthcare and driving better health outcomes. Truth be told, there’s a lot that CRMs get wrong about engaging healthcare consumers. Here are the 7 deadly sins of using CRMs for health engagement.

Sin #1

“I already have a CRM in place, so it’s easier to use what I already have.”

CRMs are great for a lot of things, but they aren’t great for effective health engagement. It’s often very easy for people to justify using a CRM for health engagement because they already have one in place—it’s already fully integrated and ready to go! But the difference is that these marketing engagement platforms work really well for consumer buying habits, not necessarily healthcare decision habits. It’s a critical difference, and one that could cost you big time in the long run.

Sin #2

“I can customize the CRM I have, that’ll be easier than implementing a new tool.”

While it may be easier to use a CRM in the moment, you’ll soon discover how much customization is needed to make a CRM operate like a health engagement platform. And this level of customization comes at a steep cost, further demonstrating that easy isn’t cheap.

Healthcare CRMs don’t offer flexibility, and we need more flexibility in healthcare. It’s better to implement a new tool that integrates well with existing systems than spending money on a customized solution that does the job half as well. Spend your money on a program that gets results. Don’t pay someone to customize a solution that might not deliver.

Sin #3

“Now that we’ve built this expensive customized solution, who’s running with this?”

This question is often asked as an afterthought. It’s like buying a piece of machinery with no engineer to run it. It’s a total waste of time and money. When you make a big investment to customize an existing solution you can’t expect it to magically run on it’s own —you still need a team or partner to manage it to make sure your programs are running efficiently and effectively.

Sin #4

“Sure I’ll accept your fixed costs!”

Speaking of expensive solutions, healthcare CRMs aren’t designed to make running health engagement programs affordable because they weren’t created to handle the volume. Plus, these fixed costs don’t guarantee that the program will even work.

We challenge you to ask one of these digital marketing technology to go on a pay for performance model and see what they say. We imagine they won’t go for it. That’s why we build a pricing structure that means you pay only when we deliver on our promises.

Sin #5

“We’ll send the same mass communication multiple times to get in front of people as much as possible. That’ll get them to engage.”

Increasing member abrasion is the last thing you want. As we’ve said before, using a CRM for health engagement isn’t effective. A lot of times, healthcare CRMs are only using digital channels. They don’t integrate with live agents and it’s harder to use direct mail, 2 channels that are incredibly effective for driving health action. This becomes a problem once someone says “don’t contact me” because you don’t have any options left to make the connection if you’re only using digital channels. So you may be able to manage your caseload, but you can’t drive meaningful action.

Sin #6

“We send targeted messages to where people are most often—social media!”

Speaking of member abrasion, using social media to drive health engagement is a slippery slope and likely will upset people who wish to keep their health status private. Point blank, using social media and paid advertisements regarding healthcare invades privacy. Ads can pop up anywhere, anytime exposing personal health information.

On the retail side, this isn’t really a big deal. If you were researching a backpack and an ad populated on the webpages of your screen at work, that’s something people will barely notice. But a care management program or medication to help you control your diabetes? That’s not fine. Certain channels are effective and compliant for engaging people about their healthcare. Social media is not one of those channels.

Sin #7

“Personalization is about building personas and segments and sending varied messages based on commonalities.”

Sending out mass messages hoping to create a spark isn’t enough—you need to think about the unique barriers that exist for individuals. Health engagement isn’t simply sending out a message, or series of messages and hoping for the best. It’s about treating people like the unique individuals that they are. This is why understanding social determinants of health (SDoH) is so critical.

Personalization works when we understand the barriers, we know the preferences, and we communicate at the right time, with the right message that resonates. For the individual. It’s so much more than a batch-and-blast model—it’s about behavior and data, and leveraging those to create the right sequence to engagement people throughout their healthcare journey.