How is Salesforce thinking about the healthcare consumer? I had the chance to ask Salesforce’s SVP & GM of Health & Life Sciences, Amit Khanna, about it from both a product — and a lexicon – standpoint at Dreamforce 2022.
Words matter. So, Salesforce’s use of “customer” when talking about our usual “patients” or “health plan members” or “clinical trial participants” is a bit jarring at first, in the sense that it forces the issue of “patient centricity” to the extreme… to a “customer is always right” place, at least for me. I ask Amit about that terminology, its intentionality, and how he thinks his clients across the healthcare ecosystem are doing when it comes to embracing this new term and the new way of thinking it requires in order to truly activate it.
On the product side, we dive into Salesforce’s BIG launch this year: Salesforce Genie. This is cool in the Health & Life Sciences biz for a number of reasons, mostly because it is the manifestation of that consumerization idea. Real time data, a holistic “customer profile” (aka longitudinal patient record) – these are the things that consumers are used to across industries, says Amit, and the new product release focuses on integrating these for payers, providers, med tech companies, pharma and more. How could these features drive change in the healthcare ecosystem? Amit gives a glimpse of what Salesforce thinks is the ‘big win,’ specifically when it comes to that “wholistic customer profile” and the idea that an EMR and CRM can co-exist to serve different purposes in healthcare.
According to the old saying, sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can never hurt you. I’m not sure that still applies in a social media environment that can have real impacts on mental health of both teenagers and adults, but I have to note that healthcare seems to be pretty sensitive about who calls whom what.
I’ll start with a new study from The Mayo Clinic about whether patients addressed their physicians by their first name. It’s a tricky thing to get a gauge on; one could do surveys of both populations, or implant observers in exam rooms, but these researchers had the clever idea of examining how patients addressed their physician when using portal messaging. They looked at over 90,000 messages from nearly 15,000 patients, with about 30,000 messages from 15,000 patients including a physician’s name (first or last).
The researchers don’t seem to have provided an overall percent of patients using the doctors’ first name, but they did report:
Female doctors were twice as likely as male doctors to be called by their first name;
DOs were similarly almost twice as likely as MDs to have their first name used;
Primary care doctors were 50% more likely than specialists;
Female patients were 40% less likely to use first names when addressing their physician.
Gotta love a new name! Well Health, arguably one of the best-funded digital front door and patient communications startups you’ve never heard of (they’ve raised just under $100 million with little to no fanfare) is today announcing their new moniker, Artera.
Founder & CEO Guillaume de Zwirek breaks the news with us and talks about the strategy behind the name change from both a brand and a business standpoint. Artera is in the (still) hot health tech infrastructure space, selling a platform that health systems can easily integrate into their EMR systems, patient portals or other practice management software to easily send text messages, emails, or other communications to patients.
We get into the details about Artera’s business model, 500+ provider org client base (and what Gui is hearing about their current business challenges) and find our way into a big discussion about digital health funding, that whole bubble thing, health tech startup layoffs, and where Gui thinks the market is headed next. Bottom line: Some interesting comments here (starting around 18.30 mark) about how this might actually help healthcare in the long run.
This weekend I read a piece in The New York Times that put a slightly different slant on what burnout, in the case of physician burnout, is or is caused by. We have heard theories from being asked to do the wrong thing, like data entry, to “moral injury” to my favorite, “burnout skills“, when you keep trying to do the impossible because people praise you when you pull it off.
Assume that if you’re burned out, your brain needs the help of another brain. Your brain is not going to be OK until or unless you have the experience and opportunity of being in the presence of someone else who can begin to ask you the kind of questions that will allow you to name the things that you’re experiencing.
The moment that you start to tell your story vulnerably to someone else, and that person meets you with empathy — without trying to fix your loneliness, without trying to fix your shame — your entire body will begin to change. Not all at once. But you feel distinctly different.
I’m not as lonely in that moment because you are with me. And I sense you sensing me. That’s a neural reality.
At Dreamforce 2022, Salesforce’s big annual user conference, “real-time data” was THE topic of conversation as the tech company launched a brand-new platform across its lines of business to help make this type of data integration-plus-analytics “magically” easy. I caught up with Salesforce’s EVP & CRO of Global Health & Life Sciences, LaShonda Anderson-Williams, just after her division’s keynote to find out more about how the new platform (called Customer 360 for Health) is intended to impact what we can do with health data, particularly in the realm of improving health equity and access to care.
Never mind the actual new product features – telehealth integration, health scoring, longitudinal patient records, marketing integrations, etc. – the sum-total of their potential impact is intended to not only improve the way healthcare understands its patients as health consumers, but to also enable it to better meet their nuanced needs with more personalized “seamless” experiences.
LaShonda and I chat about how this type of work is already happening at CVS Health and Moderna – the two marquee customer stories shared during the keynote – as well as how other healthcare organizations can benefit from “putting data at the center” of their health equity initiatives. Her best advice for health and life sciences businesses as they work on improving health access for all? Tune in to find out!
The COVID pandemic was supposed to herald the end of the idea that a smaller government is a better government. The experts who desperately seek to be in charge of a sprawling bureaucratic state told us that it was only a powerful central authority that could do what was needed to safeguard individual liberties at a time when a highly contagious respiratory virus was spreading across the globe.
New Zealand may have imposed draconian policies that did not even allow its own citizens to return, but scenes of cheering unmasked New Zealanders stood in sharp contrast to empty seats in American stadiums when teams were allowed to play. If only US politicians possessed the iron will of New Zealand premier Jacinda Arden, Americans too could have ‘freedom’.
But in so many ways, the New Zealand example demonstrates the utter foolishness and shortsightedness of the central planners that seized control globally. A year after New Zealand took their victory lap COVID arrived in New Zealand and a very much masked Prime Minister noted that “very soon we will all know people who have Covid-19 or we will potentially get it ourselves”
We’re almost two weeks past Hurricane Ian. Most of us weren’t in its path and so it just becomes another disaster that happened to other people, but to those people most impacted it is an ongoing challenge: over a hundred people dead, hundreds of thousands still without power, tens of thousands facing a housing crisis due to destroyed/damaged homes, and estimated $67b in damages. It will take years of rebuilding to recover.
In the wake of a natural disaster like a hurricane – or a tornado, a flood, even a pandemic – it’s easy to shrug our shoulders and say, well, it’s Mother Nature, what can we do? There’s some truth to that, but the fact is there are choices — design choices — we can make to mitigate the impacts. A Florida community called Babcock Ranch helps illustrate that.
Babcock Ranch is located a few miles inland from Ft. Myers, which was devastated by Ian. It bills itself as “America’s first solar-powered town,” with an impressive array of almost 700,000 solar panels. More than that, it was built with natural disasters in mind: all utilities are underground, it makes use of natural landscaping to help contain storm surges, streets are designed to divert floodwaters, making use of multiple retaining ponds.
This is a common refrain these days, from any citizen concerned about the American experiment’s democratic ideals.
Things like – welcoming shores, no one is above the law, stay out of people’s bedrooms, separation of church and state, play by the rules, fake news is just plain lying, don’t fall for the con job, stand up to bullies, treat everyone with the dignity they deserve, love one another, take reasonable risks, extend a helping hand, try to make your world a little bit better each day.
But I’ve been thinking, are we on a downward spiral really? Or has it always been this messy? Do we really think that we’ve suddenly bought a one-way ticket to “The Bad Place”, and there are no more good spots to land – places that would surprise us, with an unpredicted friendship, a moment of creative kindness, something to make you say, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming.”
I’m pretty sure I’m right that human societies, not the least of which, America, will never manage perfection. But is it (are we) still basically good. What does it mean to be human, and more specifically American?
Joe Biden hates cancer. He led the Cancer Moonshot in the Obama Administration, and, as President, he reignited it, vowing to cut death rates in half over the next 25 years. Last month, on the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s historic call for an actual moonshot, he vowed “to end cancer as we know it. And even cure cancers once and for all.”
But, as several recent studies show, cancer is still surprising us.
If you read the business press, as I do every day, It is impossible to escape the “disruption” meme. Clayton Christiansen’s 1997 Innovator’s Dilemma explored how established businesses are blindsided by lower cost competitors that undermine their core products, and eventually destroy their businesses. Classic examples were the displacement of film-based cameras by digital cameras and then cell phones, the destruction of retail shopping by Amazon and of video rental by streaming video services.
A Civic Religion
Perhaps because Christiansen’s analysis arrived at the peak of the first Internet boom, it generated a high level of anxiety in the corporate world. It did not seem to matter that Christiansen’s analysis was riddled with flaws, meticulously detailed in Harvard colleague Jill Lepore’s takedown in the New Yorker in 2014.
By then, the disruption thesis had become a cornerstone of a kind of civic religion, an article of faith and an indispensable staple of fundraising pitches in the venture and private equity worlds. No one seemed to be asking how great a trade for the society was, say, tiny Craigslist taking down the newspaper business by drying up its classified ad revenues.
Disrupting a $4 Trillion Health System
I believe that, twenty five years on, the notion of disruptive innovation has reached its “sell-by” date. At least in healthcare, the field of commerce I follow most closely, it is now doing more harm than good. The healthcare version of the disruption thesis was found in Christiansen’s “Innovator’s Prescription”, written with health industry maverick Dr. Jerome Grossman in 2009. Christiansen and Grossman forecast that innovations such as point-of-care testing, retail clinics, and special purpose surgical hospitals threatened to take down healthcare incumbents.
A swarm of breathless (and reckless) healthcare disruption forecasts shortly followed.