When I talk about data and healthcare, I often get blank looks. ‘What’s Salesforce got to do with that?’ is the implied question. Instead of waiting to be asked, I quickly point out that Salesforce is much more than a CRM provider. And, more specifically, we’re much, much more than a specialist that deals with patient records within the healthcare sector (which includes Life Sciences, pharmaceuticals, medical research, Public Health, and a host of medical equipment and wearables specialists). We’re actually in the serious business of turning data into life-saving, life-enhancing, and life-enriching solutions.
Doctors, surgeons, researchers, and even sociologists have – over the centuries – tried to bring together data sets which can be interwoven to deliver critical insights from the cell level to the population level. One Dutch physician and sociologist, Marc Berg, put it well when he said, “data plays an active part in transforming a patient’s problem into a manageable problem.” He stressed that good data ‘actively shapes’ the treatment and solutions that we all need. It’s a continuous process which requires not just constant support, but relentless improvement. As the volume of data grows exponentially, we desperately need the ability to capture, assess, share, and utilise it securely and quickly.
Salesforce has been working to transform the way medical data is handled for years. Our Health Cloud has become an important resource across the sector. It enables accurate and compliant patient record management while allowing medical professionals achieve new (and timely) insights and improve treatment paths. We also help scientists, frontline staff, and patients benefit from data outside their labs, offices, and hospitals or clinics. The data is available where it’s most effective and beneficial.
That flexibility is vital if the sector (and society) is going to cope with a list of urgent challenges; an ageing population, more people living with multiple (often chronic) conditions, the need to open access to treatments, and drugs for more people across the world. That’s why both private and public sector organisations are making huge investments in data related technologies (especially cloud). Their focus is to enable data to make a difference at pace and closer to the patient. It’s about developing and testing new medicines and devices as well as aiding faster approval for use. Data is the key to delivering more patient-centric treatment that’s both personalised and which can be accessed at home rather than in healthcare settings. And, of course, data is the only way truly integrated care can be delivered.
Making the most of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is also important. There is a need to create and run clever algorithms which can automate a range of care scenarios and ensure that patients are monitored (often by themselves) and can react quickly to changes in their condition: this could make a huge difference to both patients and, importantly, the overall cost of healthcare (always a big business and a political factor).
So, when I get that blank look about Salesforce’s involvement in all those healthcare settings and scenarios, I know I’m going to be able to surprise someone and, hopefully, enlighten them too. It’s actually a simple message: if a comprehensive approach to data is the key to shaping the future of healthcare in all its forms, our platform is the key to making that happen in a positive way for all of us.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you know more – contact me directly Nick Barnes.
 Quoted in The Digital Doctor, Robert Wachter. McGraw Hill 2015