Josh Newman, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Salesforce, joined me for a video interview at the 2015 Health Tech Forum Innovation Conference in Burlingame, CA. The theme of the conference was the “Common Good.”

When I asked Josh why Salesforce, one of the largest Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software companies in the world, needs a CMO, he said his job is to “make sure the platform is relevant to clinical care and healthcare in general.”

The company has been selling CRM software to healthcare for a long time, but they now support both clinical care and research as well. They work with both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including those that serve vulnerable populations.


Supporting non-profits

To illustrate how Salesforce supports healthcare organizations working for the common good, Josh gives the example of Care Harbor. It is a non-profit that provides free healthcare to people who need it in very large settings, such as the Los Angeles Sports Arena. In 2013, the last year for which statistics are publicly available, their four day clinic in L.A. served 3,004 patients, provided 18,400 services with a total value of care of $1,881,889.

The logistics for such an event are formidable. Prior to working with Salesforce, Care Harbor had no way to register patients or track the services being provided at each care station. Now, they have a mobile app, organized outreach to the community, statistical reports, and more—powered by Salesforce.

CareHarbor mobile app & report powered by Salesforce
Care Harbor mobile app & report powered by Salesforce

I asked if Salesforce provides services to non-profits like Care Harbor pro bono. Josh says the company’s philanthropy is 1-1-1. They donate 1% of time, 1% of equity, and 1% of product to organizations that serve the common good. Licenses for use of their product are a part of that donation.


Supporting clinical care and research

Another interesting program that Salesforce has supported is Laura Esserman’s work on breast cancer screening. Laura is the Director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at University of California San Francisco.

Current breast cancer screening guidelines focus on age as one of the most important criteria for getting a mammogram. Laura wanted to add additional information that could refine the screening process, making it more personal, including family history, past medical history, and genetic information, if available.

So, she designed a survey instrument using the Salesforce platform and sent it to eligible women receiving their care at UCSF. She also created a clinical decision support tool that can generate risk scores based on the patient’s clinical information.

The results of the survey, the clinical decision support tool and a consultation are all packaged on Salesforce’s platform and sent to the organization’s EPIC electronic health record (EHR). This allows much more comprehensive information about the patient’s risk for breast cancer to be available to PCPs and other healthcare providers when they are making recommendations for mammograms.

Josh says, this example also demonstrates the coalescence of clinical care and research that we are seeing more and more often in healthcare. Salesforce’s platform provides the technology to make it possible.


Supporting the customer experience

Josh thinks Salesforce’s products can help organizations succeed in the new era of consumerism in healthcare because they were designed to help people relate to their customers (getting them, maintaining the relationship with them, and serving them over time).

More and more,” he says, “healthcare [organizations] have to provide a delightful experience to its customers.” Salesforce’s products can help them do it. “We see it not only as a great business opportunity for us, but obviously as an opportunity for us to change the world in a very real way.”

Kudos to Salesforce!



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