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Innovating in HLS with Compliant Digital Commerce Solutions

The first in a series of articles coauthored by Astound and Salesforce

The rapid and forced evolution of the health and life sciences (HLS) industry has created an urgent need for compliant digital innovation. But is the industry’s digital shift and the intention of implementing more-innovative technologies really supporting or promoting a marked increase in patient/subscriber overall wellness? This should be the goal. Several areas of consideration exist when approaching such a seismic mental shift.

Tina Wilson & Eron Sunando

The Story

Elaine is a 52-year-old female who has been overweight most of her life. She has two very active children, works full time, and cares for both of her elderly parents—one of whom has a chronic health condition. She has tried numerous diets, exercise programs, and supplements to help her improve her health. She owns countless books on the best diet and nutrition plans for weight loss, and she subscribes to multiple apps and podcasts to help her lose weight and “keep it off.” Though Elaine’s insurance company sends monthly motivational emails, and she has sought advice from several healthcare professionals as well as her insurance company regarding her quest for better overall health, nothing seems to work. She is concerned about increased risk of health issues as she ages and desperately wants to incorporate more healthy habits into her daily routine.

What’s Missing?

In a lengthy conversation between Elaine and a nurse employed by her insurance company, much information is collected and recorded about Elaine’s lifelong struggle with her weight and desire to be more healthy overall. She is offered services that include a support group, several weight loss program brochures, and a quarterly callback to discuss her progress. Several free apps are suggested, and the call ends with the representative wishing her good luck. 

While Elaine is pleased by how pleasant the representative was on the call, she is slightly overwhelmed by the amount of information she received and feels disappointed that there still is no clear path. This lack of personalized options, products, and plans is yet another disappointment for her in her journey—a journey that doesn’t seem to have an end. She is frustrated and disappointed that despite all the information her healthcare providers collect about her struggle with weight loss, she still doesn’t have a more informed and comprehensive solution.

This real-life example reveals serious and potentially detrimental gaps that exist in the global health industry. Two such foundational gaps are 1) the lack of comprehensive and compliant digital technology and 2) informative, user-friendly tools that bring personalization to healthcare at scale while protecting personal information. Global healthcare organizations can be part of the solution, but this is impossible without relevant and actionable data. As the industry approaches the “next normal,” how patient data is collected, analyzed, and actioned upon will be critical in improving these outcomes. More can be done to respond to the level of personalized care and informed control patients truly desire.

What Can Help?

With the new directional focus of global health since 2020, the industry has an opportunity to lean in and help improve overall wellness globally. Digital innovation is the key. A revolutionary new option, Salesforce B2C Commerce for Healthcare & Life Sciences, offers personalized information and specifically focused recommendations that improve educational awareness and promote wellness, and it clearly demonstrates payer and provider interest in the patient/consumer holistically, all while protecting personal health information and complying with HIPAA regulations. 

Payers, providers, manufacturers, and retail pharmacies can positively impact patient and subscriber journeys in ways that complement their physician recommendations. Personalized information and education around products and services that resonate deeply with individuals and “meet them where they are” on their health journey are critical for adoption and adherence. Salesforce’s newly designed platform expertly meets patients/consumers at critical decision points in their journey.

From newly diagnosed patients seeking information and support to patients who are changing treatment direction, all the way to new and innovative options that complement their journey, this platform delivers support and information related to specific products and services that help ensure a more personalized approach to wellness.

Actioning on relevant data as well as recognizing impactful trends related to health and the individual will make the difference. The correct utilization and application of relevant and timely data to personalize recommendations that matter is the next normal in health. Companies need a trusted partner that understands the complicated and very personal wellness journey, the need for clear and consistent messaging that demonstrates care, and personalized support for decisions around products and solutions that positively impact lifestyle and reinforce informed choice. A full 44 percent of global executives say their organization’s top line has increased over the past two years specifically due to their company’s ability to create personalized customer experiences, including 6 percent who claim gains in excess of 25 percent. The global health industry can implement elements of these experiences to further engage and support patients.

Patient activation based on personalized information such as unhealthy habits and clinical history can reduce emergency visits by up to 10 percent through early diagnosis and prevention measures. More than half of medication non-adherence can be resolved through timely and personalized alerts to patients, along with the right information that could improve hospitalization rates and outcomes by up to 50 percent. Personalization of care can also help improve treatment choices, with low-risk patient visits to the doctor’s office either optimized based on personalized health information or replaced with more patient-friendly and cost-effective options.

Helping Elaine

Revisiting the example of Elaine, consider the loose ends that remain. Her insurance company representative collected much information about Elaine’s health and habits, but where did it go? Is it being used to understand underlying causes and correlations and then provide recommendations? Are considerations being made for what has or has not worked for Elaine in the past?

Questions the insurance company should consider include whether stress-eating and the correlation between Elaine’s job and caring for a sick parent have ever been attributed to her overall health/wellness concerns. Rather than providing more brochures on weight loss, the company might aim to help address underlying issues of immeasurable stress, sole family income, balancing family demands with work, and so on. Is there a way to provide support and recommendations for supplements or other products to increase sleep and energy? Are there recommendations that can be made for helping her manage stress and apply healthy eating habits to increase concentration, reduce inflammation, and more?

Is there a way to gain patient/consumer trust while supporting a foundational journey to better health and overall wellness? The answer is yes, with new and innovative digital technology.

 The Key Questions 

  • Is the seismic shift to self-service and do-it-yourself wellness actually adversely  impacting overall patient health?
  • Is the payer/provider/patient relationship actually aiding in global wellness overall?
  • How will partnering more closely with patients/members to improve their overall health and wellness actually result in lowered payout costs for the payer/provider and patient overall? 
  • Do payers, providers, and manufacturers “work” for patients? If so, shouldn’t patients expect measurable results like personalized information, on-time payment processing, and tailored products and services? 
  • Shouldn’t the industry’s mindset shift beyond merely a “one size fits all” for products/services to a focus on first making patients well and then keeping them well? 
  • Rather than continuing to treat symptoms, how can the industry shift contributory behaviors and drive holistic education and interaction with brands?

How can the market avoid patients/subscribers solely seeking information on their own? They may not be going to a manufacturer or payer/provider website to get solutions, which amounts to a missed opportunity by providers and brands to partner with payers, manufacturers, and the healthcare industry to collaborate, based on trends and data, to address key areas of health and wellness affecting certain demographics and concerns. 

  • The industry can drive content and products at the right time to proactively share relevant information and positively influence health/wellness-related decisions. 
  • The industry can also offer opportunities to join a community of other patients/subscribers with similar interests or ailments and support or influence positive changes. 
  • Consideration should be made for programs and apps that are currently in the market, but may not necessarily be meeting the clear need for centralized, personalized, comprehensive information from companies that have demonstrated their understanding of the overall wellness journey. 

As patients/subscribers continue to seek more control over their health and that of those in their care, the very clear need for compliant digital innovation is evident now more than ever. The global health industry’s digital shift and the intention of implementing more-innovative technologies should support and demonstrate a very clear increase in overall global wellness. Individuals like Elaine should have clear and easily consumable options along with personalized education, products, and support. A trusted partnership that understands Elaine’s journey, and has the deep industry knowledge and proven history of compliant innovation, is the answer. Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Astound are those partners. Reach out to learn more. Let us help you make the difference.


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