July 11, 2023
15 minutes read
Information Insight

Everything You Need to Know About Salesforce Health Cloud Implementation

Whether improving collaboration among providers or creating omnichannel experiences for patients, healthcare organizations face significant pressure to modernize their operations. With Health Cloud, Salesforce fills a critical need for better digital healthcare processes.

Built on Salesforce’s robust customer relationship management (CRM) platform, Health Cloud offers a wide range of sophisticated features tailored to healthcare environments. The platform’s sophistication unlocks new possibilities, but with them come potential pitfalls. Due to the complexity of the platform, your organization, and your patients’ needs, it’s important to take a holistic approach to Health Cloud implementation.

Every decision made during planning, data migration, training, and ongoing maintenance should be made in consideration of your people, processes, and technology. Here’s an overview of what you can accomplish with the platform, as well as a Health Cloud implementation guide to help you plan effectively. 

Why Should You Consider Health Cloud Implementation?

Health Cloud is a versatile platform which can support various personas across the Health and Life Sciences industry, including Payers, Providers, MedTech, and Pharmaceuticals. It’s intended  to act as a complement to other systems, like Electronic Health Record (EHR) platforms, to help healthcare organizations deliver more patient-centric experiences. In addition to improving the patient experience, it can also increase staff efficiency, support provider management, and improve sales operations. 

Create a 360-degree Profile of Patients

Perhaps the most popular benefit of Salesforce Health Cloud is the ability to create an unparalleled 360-degree profile of patients. With this 360-profile, healthcare organizations can coordinate patient care to develop personalized care plans and engagement campaigns. 

For example, eight in ten healthcare organizations say that they collect data on social determinants of health, but they struggle to use it effectively. Lack of integration between systems, poor communication between providers, and lack of training on how and what to collect were cited as major obstacles. Salesforce Health Cloud can address these hurdles with its social determinants data model. The platform’s large suite of integrations and ease of use allow various members of the care team to access and interact with that data with ease. Additionally, OmniStudio comes standard with Health Cloud. This powerful low-code digital engagement tool can help surface data (internal and external to Salesforce), in the most optimal manner.

Automate Administrative Workflows

Healthcare organizations are brimming with data, and it’s often managed manually.  Although improving efficiency is a major priority, 61% of American healthcare and life sciences professionals say manual data entry hinders productivity. Health Cloud brings the same world-class automation tools Salesforce users are accustomed to, along with pre-built healthcare  workflows to drive rapid speed-to-value. For instance, you can create workflows that streamline the patient intake form completion process and automatically update multiple records at once. 

Manage Provider Networks

Salesforce Health Cloud isn’t just for managing patient relationships. It can also help with provider and payer management. The Provider Network Management functionality helps to streamline recruitment, credentialing, contract management, and tracking network participation.

Improve Sales Effectiveness

Salesforce originated as a platform for automating sales processes, and those features are available in Health Cloud as well. Sales agents can view real-time customer order history and provide personalized messaging and offers. Additionally, Health Cloud unlocks account-based forecasting. Sales leaders and revenue operations teams can gain insights that allow them to forecast demand and allocate resources more effectively. 

Salesforce Health Cloud Capabilities

Health Cloud allows healthcare organizations to achieve these objectives with hundreds of out-of-the-box features, add-ons, integrations, and potential customizations. Some of the most popular functionalities include:

  • Clinical and Insurance Data Models: Preconfigured models, which can be customized to suit your specific needs, determine how data will be structured in your Health Cloud instance.
  • Data Cloud for Health: Create a single source of truth for clinical and non-clinical data. 
  • Virtual Care: Conduct video visits within the Salesforce Health Cloud platform and offer patients self-service scheduling and automated appointment notifications.
  • Social Determinants: Centralize data on social determinants of health, organize it in a usable format, and create tasks to address them. 
  • Integrated Care Management: With Health Cloud, Salesforce allows you to create care plans, digitize workflows, and delegate tasks to the care team. 
  • Utilization Management: Create guided workflows to streamline preauthorizations and reviews. 
  • Advanced Therapy Management: For innovative medical practices that require appointments at multiple facilities, Health Cloud helps to ease scheduling. 

These functionalities are tailored to the complex, specific needs of healthcare organizations. They can address some of healthcare’s persistent challenges with digitization, particularly integration, streamlining clinical decision-making, and delivering personalized care.

With these capabilities comes complexity. Every choice made during the implementation process — from configuration, to data migration, to training — can make or break your transition.

Salesforce Health Cloud Implementation Guide

Because of the sheer breadth of Health Cloud’s capabilities, it’s important to take a holistic approach to implementation. Your business goals, current skills and capabilities, tech stack, and customer needs should all be considered. Otherwise, you increase the risk of encountering common Health Cloud implementation challenges:

  • Treating the transition as simply a software swap without considering which practices or processes needed to be revamped 
  • Failing to consider how the platform will need to scale as your use cases expand over time
  • Neglecting to implement change management to guide the transition and promote user adoption
  • Failing to plan for business-as-usual after deployment
  • Over-customizing the platform, which makes it unnecessarily complex to maintain

5 Key Considerations for Health Cloud Implementation

A poorly executed Health Cloud implementation can negatively impact user adoption, patient satisfaction, and ROI. To realize the full potential of the platform, and avoid the pitfalls, here are five things to consider during implementation. 

1. Assess Your Current Skills and Capabilities

Adopting Health Cloud can be a major change for your organization. Your current skills and capabilities will determine how you use the platform as well as your approach to ongoing maintenance and management. If your organization is new to CRM systems, you may want to take an incremental approach to onboarding. If users are overwhelmed with too much change at once, it can limit adoption and jeopardize the quality of the data in the platform.

Assessing your team’s current capabilities will also help you plan for post-deployment. For day-to-day management, you should be able to maintain Health Cloud on your own. Understanding your current skill set will help inform configuration and customization decisions, as well as workflows for dealing with user requests. 

2. Keep Data Governance in Focus

One of the key benefits of Salesforce is that it makes data widely accessible to users across teams. That accessibility also increases opportunities to introduce errors to the platform. That’s why it’s so important for data governance to be a key component of any Health Cloud implementation.

Your data governance strategy should inform how you use the objects and fields in Health Cloud, as well as your rules for which data is entered into the platform. Considering the multitude of integrations that can be used with Health Cloud, data governance should be considered as far upstream in the data lifecycle as possible. 

3. Incorporate Security Best Practices

Health Cloud includes features like data encryption, access control, and audit trails that enable healthcare organizations to comply with HIPAA and other regulatory requirements. These features, in conjunction with security best practices, allow you to keep patient data safe. 

      • Only enter personal identifiable information (PII) into the platform when absolutely necessary for business processes or decisions.
      • Use permission sets, profiles, and roles to provide a minimum access model to your data so that people only see data that is essential to performing their work.
      • Outline which systems connect to Health Cloud and how data flows into and out of the platform. 
      • If you store PII data in Health Cloud, invest in field encryption. Consider adding Salesforce Shield for additional protection from data breaches.

 4. Consider the Timeline

Depending on a number of factors, a Health Cloud implementation can range from eight weeks to six months. The most important factors that will determine your timeline include:

      • Complexity of your organization 
      • Level of automation needed
      • Amount of customization from out-of-the-box functionality
      • Amount of custom code needed
      • Number of integrations with outside systems

Typically, Health Cloud is implemented with a phased approach to ease the process for users and admins. Start with the minimum viable product functionality then add new capabilities with weekly releases. 

5. Configuration Over Customization 

While Health Cloud can be almost infinitely customizable, it’s best to take a configuration-first approach. The standard components are already tailored for healthcare organizations. They’re maintained to meet best practices and integrate seamlessly without the need for manual intervention.

Customizations can help you use Health Cloud more effectively, but it’s important to use a light touch. Too many customizations can increase the cost and complexity of day-to-day management. It also increases the time it takes to onboard new admins. 

How Kenway Can Help Guide a Successful Salesforce Health Cloud Implementation

Salesforce Health Cloud can transform the way you interact with patients and improve collaboration among the many people involved in delivering care. Working with an expert implementation partner allows you to set the foundation to realize the benefits of that transformation. 

Kenway works with healthcare organizations to unlock the full potential of Health Cloud and reduce the complexity of implementation. By taking a holistic approach and leveraging Salesforce best practices, we help identify the role that Health Cloud should play in your operations, as well as the processes needed for an effective solution. 

Each healthcare organization is different, and we take pride in learning the nuances of each client’s processes, within Health Cloud and beyond. With a Health Cloud implementation guided by our experts, you can be confident that your patients and your partners will see the difference. 

If you’re ready to begin your Salesforce Health Cloud journey, we’re ready to help. Connect with us to learn more. 

Salesforce Health Cloud FAQs

What is Health Cloud in Salesforce?

Salesforce Health Cloud is a specialty customer relationship management (CRM) system designed for the healthcare industry. It brings the data management capabilities, integrations, and the ease of use of Salesforce to healthcare organizations. 

What is the difference between Sales Cloud and Health Cloud?

Health Cloud includes the features of Sales Cloud along with sophisticated tools for patient profiles, care team productivity,  and clinical data management. Health Cloud also comes with security features and functionalities built for healthcare organizations. 

Is Salesforce Health Cloud a CRM?

Salesforce takes its best-in-class CRM technology and transforms it into a Patient Relationship Management (PRM) software used to build stronger relationships across individuals and organizations within the healthcare ecosystem.

What are the benefits of Salesforce Health Cloud?

Salesforce Health Cloud addresses many of the data challenges of healthcare organizations:

  • Data centralization and system integrations
  • Higher staff productivity through automated workflows
  • Ability to build a 360-degree profile of patients
  • Ability to manage provider and partner networks

What is the standard Health Cloud model?

Health Cloud includes a number of standard models that can be used to capture patient data:

  • Household data model, which represents the patient and those working on their care
  • Clinical data model, which incorporates information from the patient’s EHR to create a care plan
  • Insurance and claims data model, which captures information relevant to a patient’s coverage
  • Program management data model, which is used for long-term care 
  • Social determinants data model, which captures data on the social and environmental factors impacting patient health
  • Utilization management data model, which is used for administrative processes like preauthorizations, medical service requests, and admission cases

How Can We Help?