Salesforce Connected Patient

Consumers are getting comfortable with digital interactivity for healthcare

Salesforce.com annual poll finds support for digital assistants and sharing health data


According to the Salesforce “2017 Connected Patient Report,” three in five Americans are open to virtual support service options (e.g., video conference calls) with pharmaceutical companies to help them understand medications. This is especially true with millennials, as 70% want to leverage these modern technologies to communicate with their drug providers.

More than four in five Americans (83%) — and 88% of millennials — would share their experiences and direct feedback about medications with a pharmaceutical company to help improve their abilities to develop and support new medications.

These are some of the results from an online survey by Salesforce.com, with the Harris polling organization, of consumer attitudes toward a rolling list of healthcare-related topics. As a major player in customer relationship-management software and related services, Salesforce.com promotes a variety of digital services, including the Salesforce Health Cloud, and Force.com app-development services. So it’s not surprising that its interest is in all things digital and healthcare. But some results should be of high interest to pharma brand managers and others concerned with the healthcare delivery scene.

In general, the younger the respondent, the more amenable to digital services for healthcare. When asked ‘which of the following offerings would make consumers more willing to ask their healthcare provider for a specific brand of medication, 37% of millennials (18-34) said an online patient portal would help; 28% said an online community with other people taking the same medication would help; and 20% said live chat with the pharma company would be a plus. The corresponding numbers for baby boomers (55+) were 23%; 12%; and 7%. Significantly, 72% of baby boomers said “none of the above,” versus 44% of millennials.

Another dramatic difference is in the availability of digital assistants (think Siri or Alexa) to recommend personalized health habits; regardless of the type of provider (healthcare provider, pharmacy or pharma), 63% of millennials “strongly” or “somewhat” agree with the concept, versus only 28% of baby boomers.

The Report is based on some 2,000 online respondents (not tailored to statistical precision to represent the US population), and is available here.