March 24, 2023
10 minutes read
Technology Solution Delivery

How to Avoid Common Pitfalls When Implementing Salesforce Health Cloud

As the healthcare industry adopts many retail-based marketing strategies like email marketing and self-service patient portals, many organizations are implementing Salesforce Health Cloud. Salesforce Health Cloud was created to help healthcare organizations modernize their workflows and data to optimize the patient experience and provide best-in-class care.

It can improve communication between the organization and the patient, make it easier for healthcare teams to collaborate, and automate common tasks. To realize those benefits, it’s essential to implement Salesforce Health Cloud correctly. Here’s what you need to know to avoid common problems with Salesforce Health Cloud implementation. 

Common Health Cloud Implementation Challenges

1. Trying to Replicate Your Old System in Health Cloud

Implementing a platform like Salesforce offers you an opportunity to revamp your approach to technology and the patient experience. However, many companies expect Salesforce to simply replicate their previous solution. This is a missed opportunity to address practices and workaround processes that are no longer working. 

While there may be aspects of your previous system that you like, adopting Salesforce Health Cloud should be more than simply swapping one technology for another. Consider the issues that led you to implement Salesforce in the first place, and how Salesforce’s unique capabilities can help you address them. 

2. Failing to Define a Future State for Health Cloud

Implementing Salesforce allows you to capture more data and use it more widely throughout the organization. To ensure that you’re leveraging that data correctly, it’s important to think beyond your initial use cases and consider your long-term vision.

For example, your initial use case may be to use Health Cloud for patient engagement, but you may want to expand to use it for physician outreach and management in the future. That means you’ll need to add more users, features, and integrations. To accommodate those future objectives, it’s essential that your Health Cloud solution is able to meet your current needs and offer room for expansion. 

3. Lack of Change Management

A lack of change management is often the reason why technology projects fail. Implementing Salesforce Health Cloud without a change management plan can lead to low adoption, confusion among key stakeholders and users, increased risk, and delays. Change Management formalizes the process of onboarding and adopting a new tool by forcing you to consider how you will get from your current state to the future state you desire. 

 4. Not Planning for Post-Deployment

Implementing Salesforce isn’t a one-and-done project. On an ongoing basis, you’ll need to update it, clean it, and adapt to new use cases. That means you’ll need to dedicate resources to maintaining your Salesforce Health Cloud instance. Without planning for these post-deployment resources, you risk putting yourself in a reactive position, where you’re constantly putting out fires due to user complaints or broken workflows. A good Salesforce implementation partner will set you up for success so you can manage business-as-usual work on your own without putting a strain on company resources.

5. Over-customization

Salesforce is infinitely customizable, so you can tailor the platform to the unique needs of your organization. Because of that flexibility, it’s tempting to customize everything you can. However, over-customization can make your Salesforce org unnecessarily complex. That complexity can create problems during implementation and down the road:

    • The more complex your Salesforce org is, the easier it is to break workflows, triggers, and dependencies when making future updates. Those breakdowns require time and resources to repair. In the meantime, data is lost, and users work outside the system. 
    • As you hire new Salesforce admins and developers, it will take them longer to onboard, since they’ll have more to learn. This is even more challenging if the customizations haven’t been properly documented. 
    • Over-customization can lead to the accumulation of technical debt, which can impact Salesforce performance, increase development times, and complicate change projects. 

Ideally, you want to leverage as many out-of-the-box Health Cloud features as possible and only use custom code when necessary. When Salesforce pushes out updates throughout the year, custom codes may break, but out-of-the-box configurations will be automatically updated.

Keys to a Successful Salesforce Health Cloud Implementation

To avoid these pitfalls and implement Salesforce Health Cloud successfully, start with careful planning. Before rolling it out, work with your stakeholders to establish the foundational elements needed for success.

Executive Sponsorship

A supportive leadership team can help ensure that you have the proper resources for implementation. They also help drive user buy-in by making the Salesforce project an organizational priority. 

Effective Change Management

Achieving high levels of adoption relies on gaining user trust by letting them know what to expect from the Salesforce Health Cloud implementation project. That’s why it’s important to have a change management plan that includes the following elements:

  • A planning document that details the objectives of your Salesforce Health Cloud implementation, who will be involved, and potential risks you need to avoid
  • A communication plan outlining how you’ll roll out Salesforce to users, and what they need to know
  • User training on how to navigate Salesforce and follow the correct processes 
  • Documentation of the configuration approach, as well as any customizations

Your implementation partner can help with this by setting up an effective drip campaign to get users excited about the upcoming release. 

Defect Resolution

Even with the most careful approach to deployment, bugs are unavoidable. You need a plan for how you’ll address defects, including which issues are considered to be a high priority, and who is responsible for resolving them. 

Creating a set intake process offers several advantages:

  • Defect resolution — Address defects in a methodical way that minimizes disruption to users and makes the most of your resources. 
  • Enhancement requests — Allow users to raise issues through appropriate channels and streamline the process of making enhancements. 
  • Enabling development teams — Provide dev teams with a process that helps them prioritize bugs and needed enhancements in the backlog. 

Avoid Common Salesforce Challenges with an Expert Partner 

Implementing Salesforce Health Cloud can change the way you collaborate internally and communicate externally. An expert partner can guide you through the potential use cases for Salesforce and ensure that you follow best practices during implementation and beyond. 

At Kenway, we understand how leading healthcare organizations can leverage Salesforce best practices to improve the patient experience. We take a holistic approach to implementation by considering your current capabilities and needs, as well your tech stack as a whole. We assess your current state and help to define what your future state could be. From there, we connect Salesforce Health Cloud to the data sources needed to accomplish your goals.

Because we have years of experience using Salesforce and a broad range of healthcare technologies, we can help you determine how Health Cloud can best fit in your technology ecosystem and work for your business. If you’re ready to enhance the patient experience with Salesforce Health Cloud, schedule a consultation with us today.  

Salesforce Health Cloud FAQs

How do I prepare for Salesforce Health Cloud implementation?

To prepare for a successful Health Cloud, work with key stakeholders to understand how you will use the platform in the short- and the long-term. Develop a change management plan that outlines the steps you will take during the implementation process, along with the parties responsible for each task. You also should incorporate a communications plan  

What are three critical success factors for new Health Cloud implementation in Salesforce?

Key success factors for implementing Salesforce Health Cloud are:

    1. Executive sponsorship — Leadership buy-in is essential to gathering the right resources and ensuring users throughout the company take the project seriously. 
    2. Training and communication — Preparing users with clear, upfront communication, as well as training, helps build trust in the new platform and encourages high adoption. 
    3. Change management — Having a clear plan for how you plan to move from your current state to your future state will enable you to reduce risk and ensure your project meets its intended goals. 

Is Salesforce easy to implement?

The level of difficulty of any Salesforce implementation depends on your current capabilities and intended use cases. However, working with an external partner can help reduce the complexity of the implementation process and ease some of the burdens on your internal teams.

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