I have posted a number of notes in the past about lab analytics software (see: The Use of Lab Analytic Dashboards in Anatomic Pathology; Leveraging Lab Analytic Data to Include Actionable Details to Improve Quality; Lab Analytics Emerges as Hot Area for Software Development). In the past, the value proposition of these products has seemed clear: deploy rules/algorithms, often via a dashboard, to provide data to improve the operational performance of a lab. I was thus interested when the Dark Daily posted a note that appeared to conflate lab analytics software with customer relationship management (CRM) software (see: Real-Time Analytics Systems Are Becoming Indispensable Management Tools). Below is an excerpt from the note:
Use of customer relationship management (CRM) systems is becoming more widespread as progressive medical labs and pathology groups use them to boost service levels and win greater market shareIf there is a single “big trend” in pathology and clinical laboratory informatics today, it is the acquisition and use of software that makes it possible to access a wealth of data in real time.....These systems make it possible for lab managers to use the CRM to monitor a wide range of activities, particularly in tracking relations with client physicians. A handful of hospital and health system laboratory outreach programs have recognized how their use of a CRM gives them a competitive advantage in the lab testing marketplace. These labs use their CRMs to boost productivity and profitability of their outreach sales and marketing efforts. In general, however, the primary goal of these robust second-generation CRMs is to help pathologists and medical laboratory managers monitor lab operations and workflow more effectively, particularly as they relate to a lab’s outpatient and outreach clients.....Following an RFP process, ...[Mid America Clinical Labs (MACL)] chose to change vendors and selected the Healthcare Relationship Management Cloud from hc1.com. The decision was based, in part, on this platform’s ability to integrate clinical information and to connect that information with the two different laboratory information systems (LISs) MACL uses....Thus, every lab test result that comes out of either LIS goes right into hc1, making it possible for us to monitor operations and workflow throughout our laboratory.
I had previously referred to hc1 as a vendor of lab analytics software (Lab Analytics Emerges as Hot Area for Software Development). Based on the Dark Daily article, it appears that the company is presenting itself as a vendor of CRM software. CRM software has had a huge presence in industries outside healthcare but less so within healthcare (see: DISCOVER THE LEADERS IN CRM SOFTWARE). There is obviously a need for such products in the industry and also in the clinical labs. It's not a big jump to view lab analytics software as closely related to CRM software and probably far easier to market it in this way so I like the marketing approach of hc1. However, there may be one problem. In so doing, it's possible to give inadequate attention to one key aspect of lab analytic software which is data-driven improvement of lab operations. Accordingly, I would suggest here that, least in the lab world, we now refer to these products as analytics/CRM software.