Salesforce Finds Health Care Lags in Customer Engagement Tools
With all the fitness wearables hitting the market, there’s still a demand for more sophisticated connected patient technologies. Salesforce's "2015 State of the Connected Patient" report gives us a glimpse into how consumers are interfacing with health-related technology and how health care providers can improve patient care by leveraging their use of CRM tools to manage customer/patient relationships.
Salesforce surveyed over 1,700 insured patients -- adults with health insurance and primary care doctors -- to reveal what it describes as "serious inefficiencies" in how technology is being used to drive more connected care.
"The Affordable Care Act encourages health care providers to use technology to better connect with patients and modernize the health system," said Todd Pierce, senior vice president of Healthcare for Salesforce. "But this data shows that patients and doctors are still using tried-and-true ways of communicating, like phone, mail and in-person visits. We are really at the starting line of connected health."
Late to the Digital Party
The deadline is approaching for citizens to enroll in the Affordable Care Act -- a law that actually encourages providers and payers to modernize care using technology. Yet the Salesforce report found less than 10 percent of insured patients are using the Web, e-mail or text messages to set up appointments. What’s more, 40 percent of insured patients don't even communicate with their physicians about managing preventive care, like diet, exercise and regular health screenings.
On top of this is the challenge that insured patients ages 18 to 34 -- known as millennials -- actually want to use new tech to enhance health care collaboration with primary care physicians. The Salesforce survey found 60 percent of millennials support the use of telehealth options to eliminate in-person visits and 71 percent would like to have their providers use mobile apps to book appointments, share health data, and manage preventive care. This is an important revelation, given that the preferences and habits of this demographic influence the future of health care expectations, consumption, and delivery.
"Health care came late to the digital party, which is remarkable since it is arguably our most important, expensive and information-intensive industry," said Robert Wachter, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of "The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age."
"This report vividly illustrates that our increasingly wired populace wants more useful data, more connections with their physicians and more intuitive ways to access high quality health care," Wachter said. "In our $3 trillion health economy, there is a bounty waiting for the companies that figure out how to meet these needs."
What Millennials Really Want
The Salesforce survey also revealed most health care consultants still rely on in-person interactions while the patients who keep track of their data varies greatly. For example, insured patients most commonly review their health data in person (40 percent), get test results in person (44 percent) and even pay their health bills in person (38 percent).
In other findings, 62 percent of insured patients rely on doctors to keep track of their health data while 28 percent of Americans keep track of their health data using folders, shoeboxes, lockboxes, drawers or other home-based systems.
As mentioned, millennials are very keen on using new technology as part of their care. Seventy-one percent of millennials would be interested in doctors and providers offering mobile apps so they can actively manage their well-being for preventive care, review health records or schedule appointments. Another 63 percent would be interested in proactively providing their health data from Wi-Fi/wearable devices to their doctors/providers so they can monitor their well-being.
Image credit: iStock/Artist's concept.