health cloudThere’s a new kid on the block in healthcare technology management. Philips and Salesforce.com have joined forces to develop a new digital platform that they hope will transform healthcare.

Philips and Salesforce have been working together for some time now, with Salesforce technology connecting Philips’ machinery in healthcare settings. But this new venture is bigger, and very much more of a partnership. And with a shared aim of nothing less than transforming healthcare, it’s also significantly more ambitious in its scope.

A digital platform for healthcare

Philips, a Dutch-based firm, is a leading provider of healthcare technology. With involvement in medical technology, clinical applications, and clinical informatics, as well as wearable technology, it’s got plenty of leverage in the healthcare market. Salesforce.com is one of the US’ leading providers of CRM in the cloud. As a way of connecting customers and enterprises, using mobile, social and cloud technology, it’s probably not too strong to say that it’s changed the world of CRM and cloud. It’s also a significant player in public sector technology, including being part of the UK Government’s G Cloud. The combination of the two, with expertise in medical technology, and in connecting enterprises and customers around the world via cloud, has huge potential in healthcare, and particularly in developing a new model of collaborative care for chronic diseases. And with an estimated 75% of US healthcare costs going on management of chronic conditions, there’s always interest in new models of care.

The two companies plan to develop and deliver a cloud-based open healthcare platform. At the heart of the new platform, they will place patient relationship management, allowing care providers to collaborate closely on patient care. The platform will also leverage interconnectivity between devices, allowing collection and subsequent analysis of data to improve clinical decision-making and enabling patients to be more active in managing their own health. Healthcare organisations, like many others, have a mass of data available to them, and the challenge is to bring together the right data at the right time to support good decision-making.

The platform is based on Salesforce.com’s Salesforce1 Platform. It will, the companies claim, enable collaboration between professionals and integration of data from sources across the world, including electronic patient records, diagnostic and treatment information from Philips’ imaging equipment and monitoring equipment, personal devices and other technology like Apple’s HealthKit. It’s also designed to be scalable, and have built-in data security and privacy.

The first two applications will be launched on the new platform later this summer, and they are to be the Philips eCareCoordinator and the Philips eCareCompanion. Both care collaboration applications, they are designed to allow care teams to monitor patients with chronic conditions in their homes. They will facilitate Philips Hospital to Home clinical programmes. One of these is Banner iCareTM , currently being piloted at Banner Health in Arizona, US. Philips has reported that a recent multi-centre study found that similar telehealth-based delivery models for hospitals, including some using the Philips eICU programme, reduced mortality by 26% and length of stay by 20%.

An open platform to develop an ecosystem

Perhaps one of the most interesting and innovative aspects of the new healthcare platform is that it is not a closed system that will be accessible only to Philips and Salesforce.com. Yes, it will draw on Philips’ clinical data stores and medical devices, relying on the interoperability that is already available. But the two companies also see it as the basis of a growing and developing ecosystem of healthcare, that puts patients at the heart of their own care. The platform will be open to developers, and Philips and Salesforce expect apps to be developed across the entirety of care. These could cover self-care and prevention, through diagnosis and treatment, and into recovery and maintaining wellness. As always when a platform is made available, it’s hard to tell what will be developed, except to say that experience suggests that the resulting apps are likely to be aimed at real-world problems faced by real people.

A revolution in healthcare

As a result of making the platform open to all developers, it’s probably not too much to say that it really does have the potential to transform healthcare. We look forward to seeing changes in both how clinical professionals deliver services, and how individuals take responsibility for themselves and managing their own health, whether suffering from a chronic disease or keeping themselves fit and well.

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