Earlier this year, Salesforce.com officially ventured into the healthcare industry through a partnership with Philips. The alliance between the world’s top CRM company and a long-time leader in the healthcare technology sector came as a surprise to many. But dig a bit deeper and the partnership is indicative of the numerous transformations and convergences happening in the IT sector today.
Salesforce.com and Philips have set out to build a cloud-based healthcare platform that utilizes Philips’ medical devices and wearables along with the Salesforce1 cloud platform to create an "open ecosystem" of connected mobile and sensor-enabled applications. This will allow the linking and exchanging of information among producers of medical devices, healthcare software developers, providers, and insurance companies inside the Salesforce Health Cloud.
In the initial phase, Salesforce and Philips are launching the Philips eCare Coordinator app for healthcare providers and a complementary Philips eCare Companion app for patients. Together, these apps will enable doctors and patients to monitor and measure health status and the treatment of various diseases and conditions. This information can then be used to determine when a patient with a chronic ailment needs to be seen and possibly treated in real time. Philips passed a significant hurdle a few weeks ago when it received FDA 510(k) clearance both of these telehealth applications.
In an effort to reduce costly hospital readmissions and complications, chronic care management programs are being pursued by most of America’s large and integrated healthcare providers – and technology vendors have taken note. Saleforce.com is banking on its cloud approach to deliver developer services and platform offerings that will usher healthcare towards greater mobility.
The success of the Salesforce.com and Philips partnership will depend on several factors, not the least of which is the legal hurdles that come with accessing and securing highly sensitive medical records. Meanwhile, healthcare providers, payers and other players across the healthcare ecosystem are under pressure to clearly define and analyze the cost impacts that a mobile-first patient care and IT strategy will have on their organizations. What new IT investments will have to be made? Will the old guard of technology vendors (Salesforce.com and Philips, for example) lead the way or be laggards? How will mobility impact licensing and pricing across the broader IT environment?
The questions may be numerous, but one thing is for sure – this is just the beginning of the next wave of mobile healthcare technology. Todd Pierce, senior vice president of healthcare and life sciences at Salesforce.com, told InformationWeek: "We are going to see the most significant changes in healthcare in the next five years that will be greater than what we've seen in the previous 50."
So what does that mean for IT sourcing? More spend to optimize, and many new suppliers that will enter the marketplace to service this emerging platform shift.