Vladimir Makeew CEO of Surf

    CRM for Healthcare: Comparing Custom and Turnkey Solutions and Their Top Features

    Today, clinics and various healthcare providers implement CRM software for healthcare to digitize paperwork, automate routine processes, and speed up daily operations. So, bureaucracy decreases, collaboration with patients becomes faster, and all involved parties feel more satisfied. 

    CRM desktop software in combination with mobile apps for patients brings clinics excellent results. With modern features, doctors can focus on treatment, marketers—analyze results and generate hypotheses faster, business owners—build management processes more effectively. 

    If you read this article, you’re likely to meet a dilemma: is turnkey or custom CRM the best fit for your healthcare business needs? 

    At Surf, we have been developing custom software and mobile apps since 2011 and know everything about them. In this article, we’ll compare turnkey medical CRM software to custom ones and tell you about key features to add in 2022 and 2023.

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    Turnkey CRM for healthcare: pros and cons

    A turnkey CRM software for healthcare is a ready-made set of tools. Many clinics and other medical organizations start with the out-of-the-box solutions because they are cheaper than the custom ones. Business owners are attracted by a quick start and comparably low prices. The migration to such CRM and staff training can be finished in 1-2 months depending on the complexity of the processes in a clinic. 

    Benefits of off-the-shelf CRM are as follows

    • Quick start. It takes about 2 months to launch and train the end-users to use it properly and efficiently.
    • Minimum in-house development. As CRM is ready-made, your IT specialists don’t have to spend their time on maintaining it. In addition, vendors usually offer support for their clients.
    • Minimized risks. Ready-made solutions have been tried by other organizations, and vendors have had enough time to correct and adjust what’s necessary.
    • Money saving solution. It is much cheaper to use a turnkey CRM than to create a custom one.
    web page
    Example of a turnkey CRM solution dashboard. Source:

    And here are the disadvantages you should be aware of before choosing a turnkey CRM

    • Sufficient limitations. You can’t change the design, structure, and features of the CRM as your staff needs. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the vendor will agree to add what you need. If other organizations  don’t need the feature you ordered, it makes no sense for vendors to spend time on developing it.
    • Lack of specific tools and features. Using turnkey CRM, be ready to face the problem because their set of tools is usually minimal. If your doctors ask to add specific forms for their medical examinations, it will highly probably cost extra money. 
    • Data security issues. Your data is visible to the vendor, not just to your staff. Of course, it doesn’t mean the vendor will use it, but it’s more reliable to have an opportunity to protect it from anyone except your authorized personnel.
    • Vendor’s support isn’t ready for specific tasks. Technical support is usually available in advanced versions with increased tariff plans, but it does not solve the company’s custom requests. It can become a problem, especially if you haven’t hired your own IT specialists yet.
    • Need to adapt your processes to the new system. In the case of a turnkey solution, you have to rebuild processes to start using it, and it results in extra management activities and time.
    Turnkey CRM pros&cons

    Wrapping it up, turnkey CRM is an appropriate choice for small medical organizations. If you lack resources and do not have that many specific tasks for developing a custom CRM software, ready-made solutions will save your time, money, and nerves.

    Custom CRM for healthcare: pros and cons

    Custom CRM software for healthcare is supposed to be created from scratch, according to the needs of a particular healthcare provider and its staff: doctors, managers, marketers. It is always a solution tailored to a specific project. 

    At Surf, we have been developing custom software and apps for over 11 years. We have accumulated sufficient experience in various areas, from banking and fintech to retail and pharma solutions, and we know how to reuse it across various industries. 

    Now, let’s overview some benefits that make custom CRM systems unrivaled for large healthcare providers and chains

    • Covering all specific needs. It’s very good news for large-scale organizations with large and various staff. Whichever feature they would like to have, it can be released at a great quality. 
    • Owning your code. With a custom CRM for healthcare, you get your own code and do not depend on third-party developers. With a custom solution, the code belongs to you; while with a boxed solution, it is only rented, so your developers can’t manage it. Even if you hire a third-party vendor for custom development, you may agree upon transparent transfer of code and documentation, and even training for your staff when the project is transferred in-house. 
    • Data security. The custom solution implies that only you will see the information about your patients, commercial and sensitive information, etc. You choose how to manage and protect it.
    • Fast implementation of changes. The average development/release time for a feature for a custom medical CRM is 2-3 weeks. Small urgent improvements can be implemented in a few days.
    • No need  to adapt your processes. In the case of custom development, software is built based on your workflow to be convenient for your staff from the first day of its implementation. It means beneficial changes for the business without any stress for employees. 
    training app screens
    Cross-platform solution developed for the world’s largest manufacturing and trading business with over 10,000 employees

    Among the disadvantages of custom CRM for healthcare, we can list

    • Higher development cost. As custom CRM is tailored for each organization, it includes a unique set of features, so initially, it costs more than a turnkey solution with a limited set of features.
    • Longer start. Participation of the customer’s team in custom development is necessary. No one knows the needs and problems of your doctors and patients better than you. So, analyzing takes some time before the development process starts.
    • Need to involve your developers while planning and implementing the CRM. As ready-made code for a custom CRM is transferred to the client’s developers, they should be involved in the main steps of the development process to find out everything about how it works and be able to maintain it further.
    Custom CRM pros and cons

    Custom CRM software for healthcare is a smart choice for large healthcare providers  and chains that plan to extend. It’s the most convenient and flexible solution for doctors and all the staff, providing a high level of data security and offering fast implementation of required features.

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    Key features for your custom medical CRM in 2022 and 2023

    We reviewed the features that various healthcare CRM systems offer and selected the best of them to inspire you. Below you will find some illustrative examples of how unique a custom CRM can be and why it’s a good idea to choose a custom solution.

    For doctors

    Custom CRM for healthcare helps doctors manage their workload, find appointment slots in their schedules, and reschedule patients. Calendar is updated in real-time, so doctors don’t have to worry about being double-booked.

    KFC app mockups
    Digital schedule developed by the Surf team for a custom ERP system

    It allows to create optimal routes for home calls and store relevant information about patients, including their medical history. Using medical CRM, doctors concentrate on patients and their treatment, not caring about administrative tasks. 

    In addition, in healthcare CRMs there are tools sending electronic recipes to pharmacies and reminders about medication schedules to the patients. Doctors don’t need to do it—instead, they spend their time on finding the best ways of treating.

    For patients

    If a clinic has a custom CRM system, and they have integrated it with a mobile app, patients can choose a day and time for attending their doctor using a mobile. They get notifications about appointments and recipes, have quick access to their analysis results (and don’t need to print it before meeting their doctor), and become the first to see full information about sales. It’s even possible to add doctors prescriptions in your CRM notifications and help patients take meds in time.  

    All the possible contacts with the clinic are online; even some visits to their doctors can become digital if there is a telemedicine option added to your healthcare CRM or a third-party telemedicine service is integrated with your CRM. As a result, patients become more loyal to their clinic for its convenient service. 

    For managers & recruiters

    Using CRM, managers can coordinate care across specialties and departments fast. For example, if the system detects that a patient referred to a specialist hasn’t arranged an appointment, it will notify the clinic. After that, the manager will contact the patient and ask about the reasons for the interrupted care. Managers can also send reminders to patients about their scheduling to reduce missed appointments

    Recruiters may use CRM for healthcare to track and analyze responses, find specialists for their clinics, and get information about the effectiveness of their approaches and hiring practices in order to advance it.  

    For marketing

    In healthcare CRM software, there are convenient tools for marketers. They can communicate to patients via various channels, analyze sales, and test hypotheses with special metrics. 

    Marketers send e-mails, annual screening reminders, and birthday cards; build chat-bots; conduct post-appointment feedback surveys, and use other numerous options to retain patients. If marketers need to integrate a custom CRM with any other services, they can also easily do it with developers’ help.  

    For business owners

    Business owners can use CRM to see clear and transparent statistics, and it helps them correct the development strategy of the healthcare organization. Detailed charts and diagrams help them get a lot of information about the chosen period as fast as possible. The more you know about the results, the easier it is to change approaches, test hypotheses, and extend your business. 

    pharma app on Flutter
    Flutter-powered app that helped our client save about 40% of the budget and launch an app with a single codebase but different design for 3 pharmacy chain brands

    To sum up

    1. There are various types of healthcare CRM software depending on your business purposes.
    2. Benefits of a turnkey CRM are lower cost, faster start, and no need to have in-house developers. However, it’s not the best choice if you have a large healthcare organization  or chain of clinics with specific requirements and a high need for a rich toolset to develop your business.
    3. Benefits of a custom CRM are unlimited opportunities, high data security level, and features being added fast. However, it’s not the best choice if your clinic is small and does not need numerous tools.
    4. Top features healthcare CRM systems offer in 2022 and 2023 can become a great help for all the staff: doctors, managers, recruiters, and marketers.

    At Surf, we have proven expertise in building custom software including CRM-like solutions. We implement best development practices to help our clients reach excellent results: if you’re thinking about custom CRM software development, our specialists are ready to answer your questions and offer an appropriate solution.