Patient-Centered Multispecialty Group Leverages CRM to Humanize Healthcare

October 31, 2022

// By Jane Weber Brubaker //


Griffin Health is all about person-centered care, and that extends to the way it communicates with patients.

When you put a stake in the ground in a big and high-profile way, everything you do is a reflection of what you say about yourself. Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut is the flagship hospital of the Planetree network. Planetree is a consumer healthcare organization dedicated to humanizing healthcare. In recognition of Griffin Health’s commitment to person-centered care, Planetree awarded Griffin Hospital Gold certification, and Griffin Faculty Physicians, the health system’s multispecialty medical group, Bronze certification.


Lara Yahav, director of surgical services at Griffin Faculty Physicians

Griffin Faculty Physicians offers primary care as well as medical services in 16 specialties including six surgical services. Lara Yahav is director of surgical services for the group. “I have two ultimate goals,” she says. “One is to improve the way healthcare is delivered in America — and I’ll start here in Derby — and the other is to grow the practices.”

Planetree’s person-centered principles emphasize creating a calming, healing environment, and that includes the way health systems communicate with patients. Shortly after Yahav joined the organization three years ago, she discovered that the medical group was using Actium’s CRM platform to deliver a primary care-focused newsletter to patients.

She saw the opportunity to include information about specialists and surgeons and inject calm into a fraught situation. “When it gets arced up from primary care to a specialist, a lot of times people panic and start to think something is really wrong,” she says.

Just in Time for COVID

Yahav’s foray into digital communications was timely. She began by adding new content to the newsletter, introducing specialty physicians and promoting virtual tours of the facilities. Then COVID came along.

“We stayed open during the entire time COVID happened, but we also offered telehealth for those who felt more comfortable having healthcare delivered to them at home in their safe environment,” she says. “So [Actium was] very important in helping us communicate that to the community — that we are still open, that they should not delay care, and that they have different avenues that they could receive care.”

Closing Care Gaps

Griffin Health is a member of the Value Care Alliance, an accountable care organization focused on high-value, low-cost healthcare. Closing care gaps is one way to reduce healthcare costs.

Yahav uses Actium to promote screenings and routine care. “In my wheelhouse, colonoscopies, mammograms, cervical cancer,” she says. “We also have annual wellness visits, diabetic retinal eye exam, and a few other care gaps.”

Patients receive targeted, personalized messages through email or SMS, reminding them to make an appointment for the care they need. “As they complete their care gaps, they kind of go away, so it’s dynamic,” she says. “Only the ones that are left remain on your email, so it’s almost like a nice little to-do list.”

Finding New Uses for CRM

Yahav uses the CRM to share new services with patients. One recent campaign to announce a new weight loss service line was so successful it crashed the phone lines temporarily.

New patients receive a welcome email. “When somebody’s new to Griffin Faculty Physicians, they get an email that welcomes them to our Griffin family and gives them some information about Griffin Faculty Physicians, as well as Griffin Hospital,” Yahav says. “And we do promote the fact that we are Planetree because I believe that that is just one of the things that sets us apart from our competitors.”

Next up for some of the multispecialty practices is online scheduling, and Actium will play a key role in spreading the word.


Planetree awarded Griffin Faculty Physicians bronze certification for excellence in person-centered care.

The Planetree Philosophy

We believe…

  • That we are human beings, caring for other human beings
  • We are all caregivers
  • Caregiving is best achieved through kindness and compassion
  • Safe, accessible, high-quality care is fundamental to patient-centered care
  • In a holistic approach to meeting people’s needs of body, mind, and spirit families, friends, and loved ones are vital to the healing process
  • Access to understandable health information can empower individuals to participate in their healthcare
  • The opportunity for individuals to make personal choices related to their care is essential
  • Physical environments can enhance healing, health, and well-being
  • Illness can be a transformational experience for patients, families, and caregivers.

Yahav notes that the platform’s reporting capabilities add to its value. “They can give you statistics, snapshots. And then when you end the campaign, you have your final data that you can go back to and see the return on investment.”

With the success of the CRM initiatives, Griffin Health’s leadership is looking for new ways to leverage the platform. “We actually had a meeting [with the CEO and vice presidents] regarding Actium,” Yahav says. “[They asked] are we utilizing them to the fullest capacity? So they are very supportive of Actium and the programs and offerings they have.”

Yahav sums it up with a shout-out to CRM platforms in general, and Actium in particular. “I think people may underestimate the role that organizations like Actium play. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to reach individuals,” she says. “They’re giving us the vehicle to communicate, to provide access for patients who may not have [it] otherwise. I think organizations [that] do what Actium does play a big role in helping people live longer and healthier [lives].”

Jane Weber Brubaker is executive editor of Plain-English Health Care, a division of Plain-English Media. She directs editorial content for eHealthcare Strategy & Trends and Strategic Health Care Marketing and is past chair of the eHealthcare Leadership Awards. Email her at