Now is the Time for Patient Relationship Management

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On December 27, 2005 I was a strapping 6’5″ CRM Guru with a firm faith and belief in the holy grail of customer profitability. I was just coming off a world tour for Microsoft where I could preach the customer profitability bible to Microsoft Business Partners and prospective users of Microsoft CRM; plus I was wrestling with some knotty problems in the fund raising world where I was working on an interim basis.

But on December 28. 2005 I fond myself a partial cripple in a hospital, the victim of a stroke. My left arm and leg just did not respond to messages from my brain.

But my thinking capacity, speech and reading ability, thank God, were not affected. So I had lots of time to ponder over the Meaning of Life.



I recall vividly one day a few weeks thereafter wheeling along the hospital corridor in my wheelchair when I heard a commotion between a nurse and an older patient. “YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WALK UNAIDED” shouted the nurse. “COME BACK HERE!”

The older lady patient mumbled something just before losing her balance and falling down, her head making a large SMACK on the floor. “SEE, I TOLD YOU SO,” scolded the nurse before offering to help the patient to her feet again.

This can’t be approved treatment”, I thought to myself. And indeed, I never did see a repeat of such rude behavior.

But the incident did start me thinking and reading about Patient Relationship Management. Could this be a new career path for me? Is there a market out there for a PRM Guru?

And so I did a lot of reading and thinking on the subject. Let me share with you some of my findings.

  • Healthcare is megabusiness at $1.7 billion a year spending and going up, certainly room for my future income, I thought.
  • Who gets the money? Here are some percentages:
    • 31% went to Hospitals
    • 22% went to Physicians
    • 7% paid the Administration costs
    • 9% went to Nursing homes
    • 10% Dentists and other professionals
    • 11% was collected by the Prescription drugs companies
  • A lot of effort was being made to reduce costs, not raising revenues and profits
  • Patient experiences were not always happy, leading to lawsuits. One reason for high costs: the average settlement of a malpractice suit in the USA is $265,123
  • Although The Netherlands is highly socialized, evryone is required to buy private health insurance at a cost of about $1,300 per year. Insurance companies may not refuse cover to anyone, regardless of the risk.
  • Close to 40 million Americans are not covered by health insurance.


Armed with this data, I began seeing PRM as a new career vista. And so I dug deeper. Into Neurology and Neuro Marketing, for example. Watching brains in a brain scanner react to advertisements seemed exciting and promising—although there were negative reactions to using these scarce and expensive resources ($1,000 for one scan) to test advertising.

When reading about Left Brain (quantitative & analytical) vs. Right Brain (qualitative & holistic) marketing I hyperlinked to articles on CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT.

It was a real eye opener for me and my struggle to align CRM concepts with fund raisers. Suddenly it all made sense:

  • CRM’s search for maximum customer profitability is a Left Brain activity.
  • CEM’s search for optimal customer experience is a Right Brain activity all the way.

    Things started to fall into place. I found a like-thinking entrepreneur as a partner and we decided to found a new company, The Customer Experience Factory, focused on three customer segments:

  • Commercial clients, B to B and B to C companies.
  • Patients (hospitals and healthcare companies offering a “treatment experience.”)
  • Donors (the fund raisers who collect $280 billion per year by offering a “giving experience”).



We welcome your thoughts experiences and war stories as contributions to this blog.

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