When thinking about how to handle customers successfully, Salesforce’s capacities in the field of customer relationship management (CRM) come to mind quickly. CRM has the power to positively transform the customer-client relationship and is seen as a crucial element in establishing long-standing ties between companies and their customers. Although CRM has been applied across various industry sectors for some time, thinking about the rapport between patients and healthcare providers as a relationship that needs to be managed is more or less just emerging. And this could be the reason why Salesforce might not have been seen as a natural player in the healthcare field, particularly outside its home market in the US.
The new healthcare customer needs looking after
Nevertheless, CIC sees Salesforce as a force to be reckoned with in the healthcare market. Why? As the role of the patient is changing from someone to whom care is episodically administered, to someone actively and potentially continuously involved in looking after their own health, the need to manage the relationship to an individual patient has emerged. And it does not stop here. Developments are underway that permit treatments to be tailored to an individual in a way that has never been possible before. Ultimately, with its legacy for enabling and managing all aspect of the customer relationship, Salesforce’s technology and portfolio offers a compelling sweet spot for this new approach to patient care. .
The concurrence of several trends leads to a transformation from being a mere patient to becoming a healthcare customer:
- As reimbursement is shifting from incidence-based to outcome-based, there is a need to coordinate the efforts of those stakeholders involved in a patient’s care but also to engage with a patient on an ongoing base.
- Patient engagement is particularly driven by the motivation to increase a patient’s compliance regarding medication intake or life style choices. The rising availability of healthcare-related apps, wearable sensors to track certain parameters of an individual’s lifestyle (exercise, diet etc.) helps creating new patient engagement models.
- Advances in the field of genome sequencing have led to a significant drop in costs for generating a high-quality human genome sequence. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute costs fell from more than $4,000 in mid-2015 to already below $1,500 by the end of 2015, with more cost reductions expected (see https://www.genome.gov/27565109/the-cost-of-sequencing-a-human-genome/). This sets the stage for an individualisation of care as presupposed by the notion of precision medicine─an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.
- The ubiquity of the internet and mobile devices allow individuals to be better informed about health issues and to interact with care providers in a new way. It has transformed consumers’ expectations on how healthcare can be delivered as well as how the usage of technology can sport this.
Salesforce’s move into healthcare
In March of this year, when launching its ‘Health Cloud’ offering at the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas, Salesforce officially entered the healthcare market. Health Cloud is a cloud-based patient management solution. It has the ambitious task of delivering an out of the box solution for care coordination and patient engagement, with interoperability a central tenet to its underlying framework. The solution’s capabilities have been extended continuously with the addition of:
- care plan templates to support the customisation of care
- telehealth capabilities, enabling a two-way video chat from any mobile device
- artificial intelligence, including machine learning, deep learning, predictive analytics, smart data discovery and natural language processing.
Next step: Building awareness
CIC thinks that Salesforce choose a good venue for its foray into healthcare: the annual HIMSS conference. Not only because it is the international event dedicated to the digital transformation of healthcare but also because it was the first time ever Salesforce exhibited at HIMSS! This was quite a stark statement.
Nevertheless, the messaging has not been as strong across the Atlantic. Admitting, it’s early days, and in Europe much more work is needed here to make decision makers’ in hospitals and other care institutions aware of those capabilities. They need to be aware of use cases. Although not every country has the legal framework to drive the digitisation of healthcare, there is an increasing realisation that a solution like Health Cloud offers exactly the skills needed to succeed in winning patient customers tomorrow.
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