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SearchHealthIT takes on Dreamforce

I thought the annual Healthcare Information Management Systems Society conference was overwhelming, with the constant stream of people, enormous exhibition hall, and many sessions to attend. Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual conference in San Francisco, is a whole other beast.

Granted, Dreamforce is not solely dedicated to health IT. However, this conference felt more like a party than HIMSS did. Event organizers created a park-like area in the middle of San Francisco where there was a stage for bands to play, games like ping pong and corn hole to play, and a café giving out free coffee and chocolate covered pretzels. In true San Francisco fashion there was also a mindfulness tent where monks helped lead  all who wanted to try through a mindfulness exercise, and all attendess had the opportunity to see superstar band U2 rock the stage in Daly City, just south of San Francisco.

I attended Dreamforce with the express goal of interviewing Salesforce’s Chief Medical Officer, Joshua Newman, M.D. I wanted to get his insights on various health IT topics, mainly cloud and CRM in healthcare.

When discussing the cloud in healthcare, I asked Newman whether he thought the cloud was an essential technology in healthcare and important in achieving goals such as population health and value-based care.

In his opinion, the cloud is inevitable and necessary in healthcare. To him, the cloud is as essential as electricity.

In addition to talking about the cloud in healthcare in general, we also discussed Salesforce’s Health Cloud, the CRM giant’s much ballyhooed foray into health IT. Newman said he had just heard about how one healthcare organization connected Uber to the Health Cloud to help get patients to their appointments with providers.

When it came time to discuss CRM in healthcare, I wanted to know whether hospitals and health systems are CRM friendly. Do they really need it?

Newman said that without a doubt the patient-provider relationship is important and CRM can play a role in fostering that relationship. Because of this, he said healthcare organizations are definitely interested in CRM.

Finally, I asked Newman about Salesforce’s recently announced artificial intelligence (AI) platform called Einstein. It’s a mixture of AI, deep learning, machine learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing and more.

The video interviews with Newman will be published on SearchHealthIT. Stay tuned.