Episode 1: Empowering Patients and Driving Transformation with Salesforce

Dr. Ashwini Zenooz, Salesforce’s SVP and General Manager of Global Healthcare and Life Sciences, shares how a connected technology platform builds stronger relationships across the care ecosystem.

Dr. Zenooz thinks the U.S. is finally ready for healthcare transformation, and she can’t wait to see what happens as a result.

Throughout her career, Dr. Zenooz had the unique experience of viewing healthcare from almost every angle — as a practitioner, a caregiver, a policymaker and now as the SVP and General Manager of Global Healthcare and Life Sciences at Salesforce. In all of those experiences, she has maintained a passion for change management, guided by a patient-centered value system.

For the first episode of Virsys12’s How I Transformed This podcast, our Virsys12 founder and CEO, Tammy Hawes, and her co-host, Clark Buckner, sat down with Dr. Zenooz for a conversation about healthcare transformation, relationship management and Salesforce’s unique ability to help companies deliver better patient experiences.


An Industry Ripe For Change

When thinking about healthcare policy or industry transformation, Dr. Zenooz believes the smoothest transitions will happen when policymakers and industry leaders remember to keep patient experience at the center of their focus. 

“We are one of the leading systems in the world in healthcare, yet I don’t think we provide an excellent patient experience, or even a good patient experience, when someone is going through this journey,” she shared. “The system is fragmented and broken.”

In many cases, patients struggle to access the information they need, communication with payers is difficult to understand and the healthcare system is not built to efficiently handle end-of-life issues, Dr. Zenooz pointed out. 

She views solving these problems as imperative for the industry, because “if a patient is really engaged and have good experiences, it supports healthier outcomes. That may not necessarily mean that they live longer, but they live better.”

And though industry transformation doesn’t happen without its challenges, Dr. Zenooz thinks focusing on the patient may be the easiest solution. 

“Let’s think about what the patient needs and improve the clinical needs of the patient. And as long as you’re centered on that, it’s much easier to get buy in from everyone else around you than when it’s about something else,” she encouraged. 

Technology as a Driver and Solution

With patient experience at the center of the conversation, healthcare transformation becomes all about using a connected platform to foster interoperability and make the most of the enormous amounts of data available to healthcare practitioners. 

“A lot of companies have tried to do things in healthcare for a long time, but I think you can have good products and good technology but the timing can be off. I think, though, the industry is ready, the technology is good to make it happen, and there is fervor from the people looking to get engaged and involved,” Dr. Zenooz said. 

Dr. Zenooz has seen a shift toward technology becoming more integrated with business, and she thinks it’s important to listen to a diverse array of people in conversations about interoperability and other technology-driven changes. 

“We have to think more holistically about interoperability when we have these conversations, which means you have to bring a lot of different stakeholders to the table,” she said. “If you talk to a technical person, they’re going to tell you about the technical interoperability, but if you talk to a clinical person, to them interoperability is the ability to exchange information to be able to take care of people, a seamless change of information.”

Because of its experience with transformation in other industries like retail and finance, Salesforce is uniquely equipped to help advance those conversations and drive transformation in the healthcare industry, Dr. Zenooz argued.

As the company’s platform has grown since it started in 1999, Salesforce has developed new resources to help improve engagement and overall experience.

“Our vision at Salesforce is not just to be a system of record or not just to be a CRM or PRM, it is to be an intelligent system of engagement,” Dr. Zenooz offered. “To me it’s a trifecta, which is perfect … relationship management with the integration and the analytics that really make it an intelligent platform for engaging your patients and your members.”

Relationship Management and Customer Experience

Though some people are uncomfortable with the idea of viewing patients as customers, Dr. Zenooz thinks future transformation will be driven by patients demanding more in the healthcare space.

“They want the Uber-like, retail-like experience when they’re dealing with the healthcare system, and again, nobody is better positioned to do that than Salesforce,” she said.

Dr. Zenooz believes whether it comes through researching options and symptoms online or choosing a provider based on the clinical experience, the empowerment of patients is a win-win for patients and providers alike.

“I’d rather have an informed patient who feels empowered coming in, because I know that they’re going to be better engaged in their care, which probably leads to better adherence and better patient outcomes,” she said. “Consumers have a voice, and they have a seat at the table. I think the timing is right, and we should absolutely empower patients.”

 

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