Health Cloud to Power New Clinical Models

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The new Health Cloud offering from Salesforce is a bold step that will help take healthcare further into the post EMR world. In this post I will try to explain how such cloud platforms can facilitate change and to do this I will relate it to work in the trenches.

PDSA –Plan, do, study and act – the mantra of those working in process improvement is an effective approach; but change leaders will tell you of experiences where their efforts fall victim to the overwhelming power of the system. The healthcare industry’s move from fee-for-service to value based care is an arena where you can see a lot of this happening. Project teams struggle through implementing processes that straddle across various organizational units but conflicting incentives prevent many initiatives from achieving reasonable success. An example that most readers could easily relate to are patient experience improvement projects. These often end up straightening all the kinks toward a comfortable ‘hotel’ stay but still leave most patients dissatisfied because the attending doctor, specialists and nurses are not in sync on patient related activities. They are all of course doing their best but priorities remain at odds. Despite these fault lines I believe it is possible to facilitate change in such a conflicting and dynamic scenario if we were to introduce two critical enablers.

1. Connect workflows

Team medicine can be facilitated if there is a way for providers to see how their work relates to the work of others caring for the same patients. In the patient experience project it would mean that the goal – despite the conflicting priorities of the process participants- should be to ensure everybody knows what the other is planning or contemplating; maybe through the use of shared activity information. However this kind of transparency is possible only if we digitize as many workflows as we can. In other words the paper documents, inert spreadsheets and the implicit knowledge sitting in silos must be moved on to mobile applications where workflows become codified and manageable. ‘Digitizing’ also enables disparate professionals to visualize how their disconnected work could be coordinated. Leaders can incrementally leverage this capability to connect processes as the business and clinical models evolve

2. Measured innovation

The second critical ingredient to enabling system wide change is to facilitate innovation in the work that is done. Healthcare is after all a human system and there has to be space for creativity. Provider teams should be able to design and tweak their applications without long project cycles. This is easily possible with the Health Cloud which can also provide data to measure the impact of the changes. The data can also be used to demonstrate to the disparate entities how connecting their ‘silo-ed’ workflows can power new clinical models

Technology that does not enable this kind of creativity has no place in today’s dynamic environment. EMRs are essentially systems of record, they are not systems for collaboration and work innovation. Platforms like the Health Cloud can fill that vacuum and help disseminate capabilities wherein change leaders can continuously plan, digitize, study and act toward better healthcare for all.

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