In recent years, the healthcare industry has undergone significant digital transformation. The Software as a Service (SaaS) platform from Salesforce has been a part of this shift.
Salesforce, the world’s leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform, offers healthcare and life sciences organizations tools and services to help them streamline operations, improve patient care, and increase profitability.
In this post, we will explore how Salesforce has played a part in digitally transforming the healthcare industry, the benefits of using Salesforce in healthcare, and how hospitals, clinics, and other organizations can get started with Salesforce.
Overview of Salesforce in Healthcare
Salesforce’s official entry into healthcare was in 2016, when the company announced Salesforce Health Cloud. The tagline for the press release was “patient relationships, not records.”
Since the announcement, Salesforce has invested a lot in developing core functionality for the healthcare industry.
The Salesforce model has always been to create sets of pre-packaged functionality — but let third-party developers, implementation partners, and customers use this functionality as a jumping-off point for more specialized design. The platform has tools for creating custom tables, fields, screen layouts, rules, and workflows.
The platform can also be integrated with other systems, such as EMRs and revenue cycles, to provide a more unified view of patient and operational information.
Since Salesforce is designed for access on desktop tablets and mobile devices, healthcare providers can securely access information from anywhere, anytime, enabling them to make more informed decisions quickly.
Benefits of Using The Salesforce Platform
Many healthcare organizations implementing Salesforce uncover unique use cases and benefits, but here are several high-level benefits common to many organizations.
Enhanced Patient Engagement
Healthcare providers can engage with patients in a more personalized way.
By using Salesforce, doctors, clinicians, call center staff, and other users can send personalized messages to patients, reminding them of upcoming appointments, providing educational resources, and offering support. This helps improve patient satisfaction and loyalty.
Improved Patient Outcomes
Using Salesforce, healthcare organizations can improve patient outcomes by providing more personalized communications and care.
Salesforce enables healthcare providers to access and share patient data in real time, enabling them to make more informed decisions about patient care.
Salesforce’s generative artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, dubbed Einstein GPT, add greater sophistication to the automation of routine tasks. For example, reports can be designed using natural language prompting.
Salesforce can help healthcare organizations streamline operations, saving time and reducing costs.
With Salesforce, healthcare providers can automate many administrative tasks, such as appointment scheduling, care coordination, and data capture.
Healthcare providers can focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks.
Better Internal and Partner Collaboration
Collaboration tools enable healthcare providers to work more effectively as a team. With Salesforce, providers can share patient clinical and non-clinical information, cross-communicate care plan information within a patient record, and collaborate on other aspects of patient care.
This can help reduce errors and ultimately improve patient outcomes.
How Healthcare Organizations Can Get Started with Salesforce
The operational use cases for Salesforce are almost unlimited. Because of this, it’s usually a matter of prioritizing requirements to focus on the initiatives that will resolve the most significant pain points and produce a financial return.
Here is a typical sequence of events:
Assess and Document Your Organization’s Needs
The first step is to assess your organization’s needs. You can do this exercise internally or engage a Salesforce partner with healthcare industry experience.
Interview stakeholders and representative end users to determine the root causes of your organization’s challenges — such as operational inefficiencies or insufficient levels of patient engagement.
Create a detailed requirements document that specifies the current state and desired outcomes from implementing Salesforce.
Choose the Right Salesforce ‘Cloud’ or ‘Clouds’
Salesforce offers a range of solutions for healthcare organizations, including Health Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and Experience Cloud. Life sciences organizations often subscribe to Sales Cloud. Another option for larger organizations is Tableau for analytics.
Each product category is tailored to address specific needs in healthcare, such as patient relationship management, marketing automation, customer service, and patient engagement.
A Salesforce partner can make software recommendations, but a Salesforce Account Executive will put together the financials for the Software as a Service subscription.
Evaluate Third-Party Apps
Within Salesforce’s considerable ecosystem, there may be certain apps that can be plugged into your Salesforce instance and immediately offer enhanced functionality that would be more costly to develop from the ground up.
One example is a third-party HIPAA-compliant web form app. Another example is an app call center agents can use for sending secure, encrypted text messages.
Configure and Customize Salesforce
Once you have chosen the right Salesforce components, work with a partner or trained internal resources to configure and customize Salesforce to meet your organization’s specific needs.
This usually involves creating custom objects and fields, setting up workflows, and defining permissions (who sees what).
Sometimes, a Salesforce partner will work collaboratively with internal resources to ensure your solution is optimized for your organization’s requirements.
Select a Salesforce Administrator
For a Salesforce implementation to be as successful as possible, it must be actively managed. For example, new users need to be added, and departing users must be deactivated. New business requirements surface that require configuration changes.
Your administrator may be a current employee with a part of their day allocated to managing Salesforce. Larger organizations may hire a full-time administrator.
Train Your Users
To ensure that your organization can fully leverage Salesforce, it is essential to train your staff on how to use the platform effectively.
Salesforce offers a range of generic training resources, including online courses, webinars, and certification programs. A Salesforce partner can deliver training classes tailored to your organization’s use of the platform.
Your administrator may be responsible for training new users.
The Salesforce platform has better capabilities than ever for streamlining healthcare operations and contributing to better patient engagement and care.
Healthcare organizations continue to find innovative use cases of Salesforce for addressing pain points and contributing to increased revenue.
J2 Interactive is an award-winning software development and IT consulting firm that specializes in customized solutions for healthcare and life sciences.