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How Salesforce Health Cloud changes patient care

Salesforce Health Cloud gives healthcare providers access to patient data, including medical treatments and care plans, to improve care plans -- and it does this securely. Here's how.

Healthcare providers feel more pressure than ever to develop relationships with their patients, given the proliferation of mobile devices and electronic health records. And in the information age, where patient data can be shared easily and securely through the cloud, it is an achievable goal.

This pressure comes as a result of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) of better access to health information and more provider choices, allowing patients to easily compare their options. Many in healthcare and life sciences are turning to cloud-based technologies to keep up with these growing patient demands. Salesforce's Health Cloud provides the visibility, communication and security to create a better patient experience.

How Salesforce Health Cloud works

Salesforce Health Cloud aggregates and consolidates all data related to a patient. This includes medical treatments, care plans and general patient data. Benefits of using Health Cloud include the following:

  • Consistent patient data views that can be shared among care providers.
  • Seamless patient handoffs between doctors and healthcare systems.
  • Holistic tracking of a patient throughout treatment stages via shared data between providers.
  • Better healthcare decisions by providers and patients, thanks to shared information.

Salesforce Health Cloud doesn't just benefit providers; patients gain deeper visibility than ever before into their own health data with the ability to access their healthcare record at any time, from any device. The ability to send alerts and direct secure messages through the Salesforce platform enables easier communication between providers and their patients, as well as between providers. This visibility builds trust and understanding between providers and patients and ensures that the care plan is understood and followed by all parties involved. This can result in higher patient retention and satisfaction, two issues top of mind for healthcare providers (HCPs) to address.

How is patient data in Health Cloud secured?

Salesforce reported that 62% of patients rely on their doctor to keep track of their health data. Securing those records is vital for healthcare providers to build patient trust. With the recent release of Salesforce Shield, data records are now protected with three additional security functions:

  1. Platform encryption
  2. Event monitoring
  3. Field audit trail

With platform encryption, Salesforce put the power of encryption right in the HCP's hands. Shield is currently testing bring your own key (BYOK) encryption, where providers can encrypt their own data to protect patient records. BYOK is expected to be generally available by the end of 2016.

Event monitoring builds patient-provider trust by giving insight to how users are utilizing data, including reports exported, number of logins, data losses and more. This data is further protected with the field audit trail, which monitors who accessed the record, what changes were made and when it was accessed. These three components of Shield provide the tools to secure patient data and govern how it is used.

With Salesforce Health Cloud, patients have access to powerful healthcare tools in the palm of their hands, and HCPs have an innovative patient CRM that matches the cutting-edge technologies of the operating room.

Salesforce Health Cloud pitfalls to avoid

Since the advent of ACA, healthcare systems have spent millions of dollars and undergone major disruption to their operations in order to transition to electronic health record systems. But legacy software is a concern in the healthcare industry. Companies are still seeking to fully optimize that investment and realize expectations on areas like clinical quality, integration of care and data interoperability. Adding another platform to an already complex technical landscape can be a difficult pill to swallow.

But the demand for patient and employee transparency and access is too great to just sit back. Healthcare providers need to implement cloud technology that not only maximizes their operations' potential and alleviates complicated data demands, but also puts the patient and fosters their relationship with healthcare staff. When healthcare companies prioritize continuous innovation by turning to transformative technologies -- in spite of complexity -- they are creating more opportunity to enhance patient engagement across the entire ecosystem.

But before any implementation, companies need to understand what business outcomes they're trying to achieve -- don't implement cloud technologies for the sake of it. Understand how Salesforce Health Cloud can truly solve outstanding issues, provide a real return on investment and pinpoint areas where HCPs can be successful in their pursuit of providing superior care.

About the author
Kevin Keelan is a senior client advisor at Bluewolf, an IBM company and a Salesforce Global Strategic Consulting Partner, focused on building meaningful business relationships and solving clients' problems. Keelan has more than 20 years of strategic sales experience and industry expertise in benefit management and health information management.

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