The arrival of Covid-19 was an unprecedented disruptor in many areas, but healthcare, with its traditional reliance on bricks-and-mortar settings and face-to-face interactions, has been hit particularly hard. 

Salesforce has been supporting patients, communities, partners and employees through a series of care response packages, as well as providing over $5m in community funds for emergency relief. It has been working on unified platform solutions to help healthcare providers navigate today’s challenging landscape and provide patients with flexible ways to access treatment.

Its Leading Through Change programme, for example, offers a number of resources to help navigate this moment of global challenge and transformation, including tech and CRM solutions, and wellness tools to promote self-care and development.

In particular, Health Cloud - Salesforce’s core healthcare platform - allows providers to design individual patient journeys and manage data effectively, improving patient experience and caregiver collaboration.

 

Changes in healthcare practices

These tools help both patients and providers chart a path from the old normal – before Covid-19 struck – through today’s ‘new normal’ of social distancing and lockdown, and into the ‘next normal’ that will emerge as the crisis changes and evolves. It can also help to identify the “no regret” actions that enable the healthcare industry to succeed in the future, while managing the challenges of the current crisis.

In fact, many of the changes in healthcare practices that Covid-19 has brought about are accelerations of existing trends. In today’s healthcare space, even pre-Covid, patients not only want, but have come to expect, a range of individualised solutions, including:

 

  • Personalised treatment, in the form of a bespoke patient journey
  • Individual attention from providers
  • Flexibility in accessing care
  • Affordable treatment options
  • Ease of accessing records within a provider and across multiple providers
  • Access to digital solutions on any device, using a range of solutions such as apps, communities, websites and social platforms
  • A 24/7 service that isn’t reliant on location or face-to-face interaction

 

How are the Priory Group responding to Covid-19?

As Joe McEvoy, Director of Innovation and Digital at the Priory Group, explains, the healthcare industry was already beginning to shift towards these modern and flexible ways of operating. However, when Covid struck, many providers – the Priory Group included – were not yet ready to deploy them at the required level. “We had to go from zero to 60 overnight,” he explains. 

For the Priory Group, this meant suddenly shifting from a traditional service model, based on face-to-face appointments in bricks-and-mortar settings, to a digital-first offering for its diverse portfolio. Not only did the required tools and systems need to be put in place to unify processes and improve communications, they also needed to overcome the doubts of staff and some patients about how much could really be accomplished online. 

The Priory Group integrated Salesforce into its systems to provide a company-wide view of the sales process, bringing individual reporting mechanisms together in a unified single platform.

Also, through its partnership with Babylon Health, there is now an entirely self-managed pathway into therapy through Priory Connect. Users can download the app, choose their therapist, book an appointment, pay, and then receive their therapy through the app itself. 

The number of patients taking advantage of the service is growing every day, and the app represents a radical transformation of the Priory Group’s traditional service model. 

Once staff and patients saw the flexibility that the new system could bring – allowing therapists more scope to choose their working conditions, and allowing patients to schedule and access therapy in new ways, at times that suit them – their scepticism transformed into excitement and optimism about the clear benefits that digitisation can bring. 

Looking to the future, it seems certain that this new and flexible approach to the patient journey will persist, even after the immediate Covid-19 emergency is over. As Joe McEvoy explains, “Not only is Covid-19 an unprecedented modern crisis with a tectonic impact, which exposed the dangers of digital unpreparedness; it has also provided an unparalleled opportunity for us to move faster and more bravely towards a digital future.”

To learn more about how the healthcare industry is Leading Through Change in this unprecedented time, check out our on-demand webinar.