A look at Health Cloud and its application in health IT

Healthcare providers must become more customer facing and more data savvy. This is a reality borne out of the regulatory environment created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has precipitated a shift toward consumer-centric and value-oriented approaches to delivering healthcare services.

Besides the demands presented by the regulatory environment, healthcare is a business and accordingly must think beyond the traditional task of providing healthcare services to patients. The industry must now treat patients like customers in the traditional business constantly keeping an eye on data signals that could indicate problems with the quality of the product or service being delivered. Ladies and gentleman….welcome to modern healthcare, an aspirational status that possesses the efficiency of Amazon.com with amiability of your small town, childhood, family practice doctor. The foundation of this ideal-type is built on is CRM platforms for healthcare, which attempt to harness data to squeeze the most value, quality and customer satisfaction from the business of healthcare.

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CRM platforms in healthcare are not new, in fact, they have been in use for at least 15 years depending on whom you ask. However, cloud-based healthcare specific CRM is a new development. Last week, Salesforce launched its attempt at cloud-based healthcare specific CRM with Health Cloud. Salesforce reports that the Health Cloud represents not only the “next evolution in health IT,” but also what it touts as “a potential revolution in the delivery of care itself.” Salesforce certainly has the credibility in the CRM space to throw out such adjectives for its products. However, Salesforce’s approach to CRM in healthcare charts new territory, thus one is left only with speculation about its potential value.

What does Health Cloud bring to health IT?

First, a look at what functionality Health Cloud brings to the table is a good starting point. It is described as a cloud-based, patient relationship management solution that help providers build stronger, 1-to-1 relationships; make smarter care decisions; and connect with their patients anywhere, on any device.The way this is accomplished is by combining data from multiple data sources such as EMR, medical devices, and wearables into a single location. Given the amount of data that is presently used in healthcare and the amount of untapped insights from this data, an integrative system could certainly make a meaningful difference to the business of healthcare. Effectively, Health Cloud could be the metaphorical string that bundles the unruly package of health-related data together. Integration and analysis of data into a single platform, if executed properly, could serve to ease the path toward more advanced population health analytics and facilitate more advanced quality and value based healthcare efforts. In the end, this could make for happier and healthier patients.

On the more pessimistic side, Health Cloud could simply fall in line with the other healthcare data aggregation and secure communication platforms that may have been viable products but just did not gain traction in the market for any number of reason or just simply failed to coordinate all of the technologies needed to offer a workable platform in this emerging space. Unfortunately, those anxious for a quick verdict will simply have to wait and see.

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Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

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Jeff Green