Salesforce, one of the biggest and most successful cloud-based companies working in customer relationship management systems, unveiled their latest project; Salesforce Health Cloud at the 2015 Dreamforce edition. It’s just one of many platforms they have developed, but it is their first foray into the healthcare industry.
Salesforce HealthCloud was explicitly designed to solve communications issues and challenges. It fills the gaps in patient engagement, connects patients and caregivers, and provides a comprehensive patient chart visual.
Aside from the interface, it also has advanced management and other administrative features designed and included for the ease of use of clinicians. This might all sound good on paper, but there is a strong opinion in the existing market that it will face a heavy-hitting competition in the existing lists of top-ranked HER vendors and web portals.
Salesforce, with the success or failure of Healthcare Cloud, will be joining a long list of very well known vendors to enter the healthcare game. Google. Microsoft. Big names have tried and failed to bring their cloud-based personal health record platforms to popular demand. EHR vendors have tried and failed to roll out web portals that would have HER managed software packages communicate with each other over the internet.
For whatever reasons, the uptake for these systems and developments has been slow at best. Epic Systems Corp, tried to bring ‘MyChart’ into the mainstream, but despite the company already having a large customer base, its uptake was not comprehensive because the system still had gaps, and these gaps were crucial because they left the doctors, clinicians, and patients all feeling less than enthusiastic.
The most important groups of people regarding a cloud-based record-management system found out first that Salesforce reached out to patients and clinicians.
Although salesforce had already made a name for itself as a provider of good quality Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for sales and marketing departments, this new venture is heavily watched for its sustainability.
The software designed by salesforce gives organizations with over a thousand users access to enterprise features and is web-based. The CRM platform is rolling out is one of the leading platforms of its kind, right alongside the Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Salesforce Health Cloud is still web-based, like Salesforce’s other successful projects and platforms. It uses some of the existing skillsets the company brings to the table and twists it on its head, offering not only great data viewing options and communication tools but also real-time patient engagement and a focus specifically on developing the practitioner-patient relationship.
The Salesforce Health Cloud is a service that offers a complete view of patient demographics and data. After Salesforce completes their integration, patients will be able to view all of their information. The data viewable by patients will include; current conditions, current and historical prescriptions, appointments, and even set their preferred communication method. Once that integration is final, data will be able to be uploaded from many diagnostic machines, such as glucose monitors and blood pressure monitors.
You don’t have to work in the healthcare sector very long to know that the platforms available today can often be complex and in some respects this is unavoidable; the wide range of information and functionality required means that a one-fits-all system will be hard to navigate.
Salesforces knew this and focussed the development of Health Cloud; they tried to build an easy-to-use platform. There is metadata capability with healthcare Cloud as well – a functionality, not all similar platforms are set up to create. Task management, population segmentation, Collaborative care (with timelines), and secure messaging mean that the platform is truly wired for a multi-user interface. Practitioners will even be able to assign tasks to their colleagues in regards to a patient’s care and truly work together, potentially even in real time.
Health Cloud is unique regarding its approach surrounding engagement with patients, and its simple to manipulate interface. Using the service, not only will patients and practitioners be able to access medical data and personal information, but there will also be an unprecedented ability to communicate across professions and allow members to communicate in a community-like fashion.
Because there are so many existing record-portals on the market already, it’s relatively simple to compare what Healthcare Cloud is promising to the competition. There is a flip side to all this competition; the effective use of Salesforce Health Cloud in a practitioner and patient setting relies on it being a dominant force in the market; the purpose of these cloud-based portals is somewhat defeated if a patient has to be a member of ten or so for all their treating practitioners to have the same information.
The concept of effective engagement with the patient, not even considering the practitioner, is vital and there is a lot of onus on the practitioner to choose the right platform so that their patients can use it easily and have advanced communication capabilities through it to promote a good communication experience.
This is where Salesforce is making the platform concept it’s own. It has a well-recognized background in CRM systems, and treating the patient as a customer in this scenario has been done poorly before, but that was by companies not proficient in the customer relations market as it was.
Because of its pedigree in the area, there isn’t much of a reason for Salesforce Health Cloud not to be one of the best platforms of its kind on the market. It will be up to the practitioners; famous for being slow to accept new technological innovations and software platforms; it will require a large scale roll out across the sector to give it a chance it deserves.