Salesforce enters the healthcare space with patient engagement platform

By Jonah Comstock

woman holding a phone with app for health card monitoringSalesforce, maker of the well-known sales and customer support platform, is launching its first product designed specifically for the healthcare sector: Salesforce Health Cloud. The new offering will be a patient engagement and patient management offering designed to work alongside the EHR and other data sources.

“Healthcare providers face a significant challenge. To deliver the best patient care possible, they rely on data sitting in multiple systems. These include EMRs, lab systems and imaging applications, often across multiple data centers and in the cloud,” Ross Mason, founder and vice president of product strategy for MuleSoft, who worked with Salesforce on the new product, said in a statement. “Connectivity is the key to unlocking this data and making it useful. MuleSoft’s integration platform brings data from these systems into Salesforce with an API-led approach, enabling agility while allowing providers to remain in control of their patients’ information. We’re excited to partner with Salesforce on Health Cloud to realize the vision of a single patient success platform.”

Salesforce already had a number of healthcare customers using its core offering for sales and customer support, including providers, payers, pharma companies, pharmacies, and medical device companies. Now, as part of a company-wide shift from a horizontal to a vertical product model, the company is adding one that it hopes will be useful for healthcare providers, as well as payers and pharma companies.

"We’re approaching this with a lot of humility -- healthcare’s really hard," Dr. Joshua Newman, Chief Medical Officer at Salesforce Healthcare and Life Sciences, told MobiHealthNews. "We want to give it a really good shot."

The system is designed to help providers track as much information about their patients as possible in a manageable way. Through the software's dashboard, doctors will be able to see things like conditions, medications, lab results, insurance information and scheduled appointments in a timeline view that lets them track a patient's progression. They can also see a map of the patient's other providers and caregivers -- both professional and family-based. All this data can be populated from multiple sources including the EHR, medical devices in the hospital and the home, and even wearables.

In that dashboard, members of a patient's care team can also communicate with each other in a social media-inspired communication system that allows at-tagging of particular individuals. It's also possible to set alarms for certain parameters of patient data.

The whole thing is accessible from mobile devices, which Newman said he hopes will help doctors not feel tied to the system, or feel like they've added one more technology to their workflow on top of the EHR. A companion smartphone app for patients allows the Health Cloud to promote patient engagement as well. Through the app, patients can view progress against a care plan, find answers to common questions and connect with any provider in their network. Their provider can also message them.

“The era of precision healthcare is upon us,” Newman said in a statement. “Just like we use precision medicine to target more personalized treatments for cancer and other diseases, precision healthcare is enabling our customers to develop more meaningful, accurate and long-term relationships with patients.”

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