Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Salesforce adds telehealth to Health Cloud platform

Steve Rogerson
August 24, 2016
CRM company Salesforce has added a telehealth service to its Health Cloud platform, enabling two-way video chat that gives patients the ability to connect face-to-face with their care teams from any mobile device.
Caregivers use Health Cloud to get a complete view of their patients, manage their care holistically and engage with them in new ways. Now, with two-way video chat providers can deliver more timely, convenient and contextual care to help increase overall patient satisfaction.
The California company’s recent “2016 Connected Patient Report” revealed that 62% of US respondents with health insurance and a primary care provider would be open to virtual-care treatments, such as a video conference call for non-urgent matters. In addition, care providers are under enormous pressure to lower costs in an era when 65% of emergency room visits are avoidable and hospital readmissions can lead to huge penalties under Affordable Care Act guidelines.
Health Cloud, released earlier this year, is a patient relationship management system that provides a comprehensive view of the patient, smarter patient management and connected patient engagement. Salesforce’s telehealth offering extends these capabilities by letting providers connect directly to patients through two-way video chats and share their screens on iOS or Android mobile devices.
“Consumers today expect to connect with their healthcare providers in the same way they FaceTime with family members,” said Joshua Newman, general manager at Salesforce for healthcare and life sciences. “Providers who can provide the best platform for engagement on the devices patients use day-to-day will find the most success in this highly connected world. By bringing two-way video to Health Cloud, we can both help patients get the engagement they’re craving and enable providers to improve outcomes at lower costs.”
With two-way video, care team members and patients can immediately see and talk to each other about general health matters such as checking-in on a chronic condition or discussing preventive tips for staying healthy by using the camera on a patient’s smartphone. Patients just need to press a button within the Health Cloud mobile app to engage the smartphone’s camera and connect with their caregivers in real-time, from any location. Care teams can assess problems directly, provide additional educational resources or schedule an office follow-up.
When care teams connect with patients through two-way video chat, Health Cloud automatically pulls up the patient’s medical profile, including cases, records and family data, so providers can provide personalised and contextualised support.
“Integrated patient care represents the future of healthcare technology and present a massive opportunity for the industry to digitally transform and create a stronger relationship between patients, care providers and practitioners,” said Robert Van Tuyl, chief innovation officer of Easter Seals Bay Area, a Health Cloud customer. “Easter Seals Bay Area and Salesforce are collaborating to lead the way in the industry in terms of trailblazing better ways to deliver services, and we are excited to be a part of this next wave of healthcare innovation.”
Telehealth can be used for scenarios ranging from health coaching and education, to post-discharge care, to replacing existing nurse call lines. This can increase quality-of-care, save time, lower costs associated with expensive doctor or emergency room visits, and reduce readmission penalties for providers.
Salesforce is working with its ecosystem of partners in the implementation of telehealth in Health Cloud, including Persistent Systems, Silverline and other partners deploying and extending the capabilities of two-way video in the product.
 “Patients are, first and foremost, consumers who increasingly use mobile devices in many aspects of their lives,” said Lynne Dunbrack, research vice president for IDC Health Insights. “Healthcare is no different and healthcare organisations and professionals should actively be seeking to increase mobile patient engagement. Incorporating mobile engagement into patient relationship management is a natural evolution that the market is demanding.”