Salesforce is expanding the capability to use its Health Cloud product, incorporating a telehealth component that enables the use of video chats between patients and care providers.

San Francisco-based Salesforce sees the telehealth expansion as a way to give patients the ability to use technology, including mobile devices, to have video-supported conversations with those who provide care to them.

The new service provides another reason for providers to use Saleforce’s Health Cloud; the company believes the new capability will give them “a complete view of their patients,” while helping them to efficiently manage their care and engage with them, without requiring a patient visit to a provider office.

As more care moves to value-based contracts, providers will see new incentives to find ways to follow patients’ needs more consistently, while using cost-effective means for maintaining care. Many in the industry expect this to provide growth in the use of telehealth, mobile technology and other forms of communication that helps providers make better use of their time.

Salesforce Health Cloud was released earlier this year as a patient relationship management solution that provides a comprehensive view of the patient, data-enabled patient management and improved patient engagement.

The telehealth capability, announced yesterday, takes advantage of a consumer base that is increasingly willing to use smartphones for a variety of tasks. More than 191 million smartphones are in use in the United States today; Salesforce’s recent “2016 Connected Patient Report” revealed that 62 percent of U.S. respondents with health insurance and a primary care provider would be open to virtual-care treatments, such as a video conference call for non-urgent matters.

In addition, care providers are under enormous pressure to lower costs in an era when 65 percent of emergency room visits are avoidable and hospital readmissions can lead to huge penalties under Affordable Care Act guidelines, Salesforce executives say.

With two-way video for Health Cloud, care team members and patients can immediately see and talk to each other, using the camera on a patient’s smartphone. Patients just need to press a button within their providers’ Health Cloud mobile app to engage the smartphone’s camera and connect with their caregivers in real-time. Care teams can assess problems directly, provide additional educational resources or schedule an office follow-up.

Most importantly, when care teams connect with patients through two-way video chat, Health Cloud automatically pulls up the patient’s medical profile, including cases, records and family data, so that providers can provide highly personalized and contextualized support.

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