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How To Efficiently Manage Health Network Relationships With Salesforce Health Cloud

Keeping track of information about healthcare groups, locations, and providers across a health network can be challenging for hospitals and health systems. This task is especially true when a large group of clinical and non-clinical staff needs to access and maintain interrelationships among these levels of organizations, locations, and people.

Many times, initial provider information begins as a “flat” file structure, shared across teams and manually updated. This flat file structure means repeatedly typing in or editing the same information.

For example, organizations tracking outreach efforts to community providers often track follow-up tasks and details of conversations as a large note field within a shared worksheet. Users manually add notes from each discussion and make edits to the file based on ongoing interactions. 

Without a formal data structure, information is captured in a file or note field and cannot be shared with downstream systems. In order to share information about practices or providers, users will email or pass along files introducing the opportunity for errors or lost information. 

The lack of consistent access to foundational information about a provider network contributes to both poor user experience and poor provider experience.

Creating a proper data structure for health network management allows organizations to properly associate health network providers across varying locations and related parent organizations as well as to capture and share foundational details about provider credentials, practice operations, and provider preferences.

Hierarchical Structure

When a health network management system is not architected correctly, the data can quickly become inconsistent and meaningless. 

Let’s look at some elements of a properly structured health network management system, such as those developed using Salesforce and Salesforce Health Cloud.

A Multi-Level Hierarchy

It’s important to create a hierarchy that accurately reflects the organizational structure of the health network.

A simple analogy for this structure is a family tree. The design begins with defining the grandparent, parent, and child relationships between the provider groups, facilities, and individual clinicians. Depending on the type of health network, the hierarchy may be as follows:

  • Health groups are the grandparent records
  • The group’s locations are the parent records
  • Providers are the child records

With this architecture, users never need to enter the top-level (a.k.a. header) information about a group, a location, or a provider more than once. Instead, it’s simply a matter of connecting the records.

Multi-Location Providers

Along the same lines as above, when a provider works at more than one location, there is no need to add the provider to each site. Instead, the provider can be added once to the system and then linked to the locations where they work.

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Location Types

Users may need to track different information for varying types of locations. In Health Cloud, this is managed with the use of Record Types.

Suppose location types include hospitals, health & wellness centers, urgent care facilities, and express care surgery centers. In that case, it’s difficult to view and maintain a “one size fits all” location record.

A properly designed system that uses Salesforce Record Types will only display fields on the screen relevant to location type.

Provider Roles

Providers can be assigned multiple roles. For example, there could be a physician who is also a quality contact.

Health Network Provider Roles

In Salesforce, when there are a small number of roles, an administrator can create a multi-select picklist field to manage this information. Role information can be a filter when aggregating information in a report.

Minimizing Data Entry

A location should inherit information from its parent health group for specific data fields.

One example is a Tax ID number. Rather than users having to type in the same Tax ID number for each added location, the group’s Tax ID number is automatically added to a new location record under a group.

Insurance information, such as contract start and end dates, is another example of data that does not require manual data entry for each location.

Rolling up Data

There might be information at the provider level that should be rolled up through the location level and then on to the group level. The Roll-up Summary field type in Salesforce is used for summarizing information from child objects.

Number of Physicians

A Roll-up or summary view can easily answer simple questions such as, “how many physicians are there across a segment of locations or within a group?”

Number of Referrals

Similarly, with Salesforce, field-level data can be captured and presented to answer questions about practice operations such as, “how many referrals did we get last month from a specific practice? 


There may be telephone and email outreach and interactions with multiple physicians within a group. Emails can be automatically attached to provider records through integration with users’ email clients.

Users can view the details of these activities. In addition, the volume of activities can be aggregated.

Activity volume can be compared to referral volume for a provider, a location, or a group. If, for example, there is a positive correlation between less activity and fewer referrals, the appropriate steps can be taken.

Adding Marketing to the Mix

With the proper data and structure now available in Salesforce, contact data can be segmented to fuel marketing campaigns. The ability to create and target audiences for specialized marketing content is key to engaging new and existing patients. 

An implementation team can connect Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud Account Engagement platform to Health Cloud for email marketing and marketing automation purposes. Automations within the Account Engagement platform can supplement manual outreach to physicians.

Moving Beyond Provider Data Management

The ability to collect, house, and report on provider network data are necessary functions for the effective management of healthcare operations. 

Provider network management enables more effective communication with providers through better data capture, better documentation, and task automation. Provider network management enables coordination of outreach across roles and teams. 

Furthermore, a standardized approach to capturing, viewing, and reporting on provider data improves data accuracy, reducing errors and removing manual fixes. Housing provider data in Salesforce allows organizations to segment and target providers for outreach, education, and training. 

Bleeding edge organizations focused on digital marketing capabilities can extend digital services to their provider network, creating targeted opportunities for engaging both new and existing customers.

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J2 Interactive

J2 Interactive is an award-winning software development and IT consulting firm that specializes in customized solutions for healthcare and life sciences.