Healthcare in the Cloud

  • Written By WHISHWORKS
  • 09/04/2021

How Salesforce Health Cloud is driving better care

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic globally have been profound and for the healthcare industry, digital transformation initiatives have been a saving grace as they work to beat the virus.

For example, many providers are already using digital technologies to triage, support and treat the influx of patients. Others are using “telehealth” and “digihealth” solutions to meet patients where they are – at home. A great example of meeting patients’ on-demand healthcare needs would be the NHS’ eConsult service. Since the summer of 2020, the online triage and consultation service has been rolled out to over 3000 surgeries and served 29-million users.

This need is not only driven by the pandemic, but also by patients increasingly relying on digital forms of communication and engagement. In other words, patients are now, more than ever, asking to be a part of their own health journeys.

As a result, other trends have surfaced which are driving the need for digital transformation in healthcare. These are:

  • With people becoming far more digitally-savvy in the past decade, the main route to book medical appointments or to research doctors, hospital and medical facilities is through digital channels. Ultimately, patients want health care on their own schedule, and this is something digital transformation can provide.
  • With the amount of data available, data-driven technologies and techniques can lower the rate of medication errors, facilitate preventative care, and help facilities to allocate the proper staff to deal with patients. It is therefore vital that health care providers should invest in leveraging their data.
  • By leveraging data and analytics, health care providers can predict what illnesses and diseases will become major problems in the near future, which can in turn help them provide healthy lifestyle recommendations for their patients.
  • Artificial intelligence represents the epitome of medical innovation and industry players are eager to invest in it. Some tools that are possible with artificial intelligence include hospital droids designed to assist human nurses with routine tasks or chatbots that can fill the role of customer service representatives to diagnostic tools and even therapists.

These “digihealth” services have been proven to improve patient relationships, care, and medical outcomes. However, as they rely extensively on data, providers looking to enable such solutions must first invest in unlocking the data buried in legacy systems and electronic health records (EHRs).

To use this data, Salesforce Health Cloud comes into play. Its customer-360 view is designed to improve patient satisfaction, deliver high-quality patient care, and deliver positive outcomes.

Salesforce Health Cloud

Rich contextual patient profiles

With 60% of patients having to manage their care between different providers, it can be challenging to have all patient data available at the right time. Health Cloud offers healthcare providers a 360 patient view. In other words, this holistic view includes data like demographics, communications, clinical, and non-clinical data, information from the EHR, membership and claims systems, and wearables.

Providers can, for example, integrate data from a patient’s electronic health record including the patient’s current status, medications, and appointment history. These rich contextual patient profiles therefore give providers the ability to see and understand the patient’s history and makes clinical decisions based on that. This is especially relevant and helpful where patients are receiving long-term medication, or when a specific patient is under the care of several health care providers.

Also, Health Cloud makes it possible to integrate with patients’ medical devices and wearables, making the real-time and up to date information available to the care team. This is especially helpful in post-discharge care, and for patients with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, epilepsy, and other chronic medical conditions.

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Access to patient information and tasks

Now, it wouldn’t be of much use if the information gathered in these rich patients’ profiles weren’t easily accessible. Often, healthcare providers have to go to multiple sources to find information on one patient. This wastes time and makes for a poor user experience. Not only that, but it also increases the possibility that vital care information can be missed at a crucial time.

Fortunately, this information is stored in one place in the cloud. Providers can therefore access a single view of the patient. This can include things like care plans, timelines, clinical and non-clinical data, and other records. Being available at the click of a button, this not only makes patient care more efficient, but also gives providers access to the latest patient information wherever they are.

And having a single dashboard with all the patient’s information makes it easy to schedule tasks and automate large parts of a provider’s workflow like setting reminders for tasks and sending reminders to patients. This makes providers even more efficient and improves the care of patients.

Having all the information available in one place also brings the connected patient to the forefront. In other words, it enables care teams and patients to collaborate seamlessly.

For example, care coordinators can assign tasks within the caregiver network and providers can send secure text messages to patients’ mobile devices. This meets patients’ communication expectations, makes for a more personalized experience, improves their satisfaction, and fosters stronger relationships between providers and patients.

Productivity tools

To improve provider productivity, Salesforce Health Cloud contains several tools providers can incorporate into their workflows to make their jobs easier, make them more productive, and improve patient care.

For example, Health Cloud incorporates:

  • Lead to patient conversions. Providers can convert leads already captured in Salesforce as patients. During this conversion process, providers can assign care coordinators and assign care plans to these patients.
  • Care plans. Here, providers can create, manage, and customise care plans to manage everything from simple check-ups to more complex cases like those patients with chronic conditions. It also allows providers to provide preventative care and apply health and wellness protocols to care plans. Providers also use care plan templates to create customised plans quickly and easily and use concurrent care plans with patients with multiple conditions.
  • Household mappings. These maps give providers a complete view of the people under their care, including their care plans, caregivers, households, businesses, and all other individuals that are involved in the patient’s care.
  • Assessments. Through assessments, providers can improve the quality of patient care by gathering information that helps to manage patients more efficiently. These assessment or surveys can be sent to patients from the Health Cloud console and providers have a record of the responses as they are received.
  • Clinical data model. This model captures information from the EHR and the problems, goals, and tasks associated with a patient’s care plan. This data is critical to planning, execution, and managing care plans for patients and the model provides a full view of a patient’s history from inside Health Cloud.

Reimagined CRM for health plans

Now more than ever, consumers have increasing purchasing power when it comes to choosing a health plan, so excellent service is imperative in ensuring growth. Here, Health Cloud helps health plans breakdown silos and engage with consumers across marketing, sales, service, and care management functions. With guided workflows, it helps employees to deliver a truly personalized service during every interaction with a member.

The features that allow employees to do this are:

  • Membership consumer service representatives can easily support members in the enrolment or re-enrolment processes. Health plans can build personas and journeys to represent both members and patients’ experiences in managing their day-to-day wellness and can send members and patients communications specific to their needs through Marketing Cloud.
  • Customer service desk agents can see all the right information at the right time to assist members to resolve everything from simple tasks like adding or removing a member to a plan or more complex issues like supporting appeals and grievance cases. Also, these interactions can take place across any channel and any device depending on what the member chooses.
  • Care coordinators can use pre-defined care plans for specific conditions and work with members to improve their access to care in order to manage their medical needs and their overall health.
  • Members can securely access the care programs that they are enrolled in from any mobile device which, in turn, improves communications with members and their adherence to their health protocols.
  • Physicians can access the health plans provider portal to request a pre-certification for a new drug or treatment and to check on the status of outstanding client payments.

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Health Cloud features

From the above, it is clear that the main feature of Health Cloud is that it offers healthcare providers the ability to get a complete, unified view of patients from one location. This immediately strengthens the understanding of a patient’s condition and allows the care team to base clinical decisions on all the relevant information, not just a snapshot of it. This enables providers to earn the trust of patients by giving the right information at the right time. This significantly enhances but does not replace the EHR system.

Now, this feature is significant in itself, but it also gives rise to several other features. For one, by giving the care team the ability to make clinical decisions on all the information easily, and conveniently, they are able to deliver insightful and personalised care faster. They can monitor cases and prioritise actions based on the patient’s immediate needs and level of importance. Case management efficiency is therefore greatly improved.

Most importantly, the platform makes patients feel like they are part of their health journey and not only passengers along for the ride. They are able to access and track the progress towards their health goals from any device, and providers can quickly address any questions in real time.

Now, having all this information and these capabilities is very powerful for healthcare providers and patients alike, but also comes at significant risk. For this reason, some healthcare providers are hesitant to use newer technologies because of regulatory compliance, privacy, and cybersecurity concerns. And it is for good reason. Health data breaches are becoming too common.

To mitigate these risks, healthcare providers need to ensure that their systems are securely built, managed, and maintained to protect patients’ health data.

Salesforce Health Cloud natively provides robust security features at the infrastructure, network, and infrastructure levels. It does this through Salesforce Shield, a premium set of integrated services built into the Salesforce platform. Shield protects patient data in the following ways:

  • Event Monitoring. Healthcare providers can see what medical data medical staff is accessing, when they accessed it, and from where it was accessed. Multiple members in a provider network can access this data or a single record, and event monitoring can give an indication if there is any warnings signs in this usage behaviour. This can, for example, include things like sudden downloads of data and data being accessed from places outside the norm.
  • Transaction Security. Shield can be set up to notify security teams or administrators when an unauthorised employee purposely, or inadvertently attempts to access or print a patient’s health data. It also allows the blocking of certain types of activities as they happen and require some other form of authentication for certain events.
  • Field Audit Trail. By having all the information available in the cloud, providers can go back to any information that may have been changed. Here, Shield’s Field Audit Trail allows providers to easily pinpoint and find mistakes in patient records. This ensures that patient records are always accurate and that patients are given the best care possible.
  • Platform encryption. Shield’s Platform Encryption makes it easy to encrypt data by using certified standards, while making every field “encryption-aware”. This means that fields like workflows, search, and more still function despite the fact that the data is encrypted. With this capability, security is not sacrificed in favour of usability.
Salesforce Shield
Salesforce Shield

By offering these features, Shield helps providers keep patients in a trusted, and secure way. This allows them to strengthen compliance and improve security, while leveraging all the benefits the platform offers.

In addition to the above, Health Cloud also offers the following features:

  • Intelligent Task Management
  • Advanced Patient Segmentation and Lists
  • Risk Stratification
  • Health Cloud Empower
  • Lightning Experience
  • Field Service Lightning Integration

Final thoughts

The saying goes, the only constant there is, is change. And it is a fact that there will always be change in the healthcare industry as technologies and facilities improve. And, as always, the industry will have to adapt to the change in order to provide the best patient care.

The COVID-19 pandemic has however, thrown a spanner in the works and requires adaptation on a scale not experienced before. On the one hand, it emphasised the need for exceptional patient care, and, on the other it pointed to the fact that a digital transformation is necessary now.

When it comes to patient care, it goes further than just the treatment of the patient and relies much more on the patient’s total journey. And to improve this, providers face the challenges of not having a holistic view of the patient’s health, not having a common platform, not having enough productivity tools, and little or no collaboration with third party healthcare providers.

Salesforce’s Health Cloud solves these problems by providing the tools necessary to provide exceptional patient care. It provides a complete 360-view of the patient’s health on an easy-to-use dashboard, promotes collaboration, and includes the productivity tools any provider might need.

By relying on data, and other innovative features that greatly improves task management, communication, and allows automation, it is also a complete digital transformation solution for healthcare providers.

If you would like to find out more about how WHISHWORKS can help you leverage Salesforce Health Cloud to improve patient care, give us a call or email us at marketing@whishworks.com

Other useful links:

How Biotech and Pharma can gain a value-based competitive edge

Guide: Performing a Successful Technical Debt Assessment in Salesforce

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