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Salesforce.com, Philips join forces for health care IT

Salesforce.com is teaming up with Philips to develop a software platform to connect patients with health care in a much faster and easier way than is usually possible today.

The move is part of Salesforce.com’s effort to push into industry-specific applications.

Philips will combine its medical technologies with Salesforce.com’s cloud computing platform, with a focus on helping patients and care providers connect with each other on an ongoing basis.

Two applications based on Salesforce.com’s platform, Philips eCareCoordinator and Philips eCareCompanion, will be launched in the next few months, the companies said Thursday. The software will help caregivers track the condition of patients living at home with chronic ailments.

Future applications “will cover the continuum of care: from self-care and prevention, to diagnosis and treatment through recovery and wellness,” Salesforce.com and Philips said in a statement.

They will combine multiple data sources, including electronic health records, Philips’ medical equipment, personal devices and third-party technology such as Apple HealthKit. The platform will be open to third-party developers who can create additional applications as well, according to a statement.

Today, it’s typical for a patient to drive 30 minutes to a hospital for an appointment, then wait 30 minutes, see the doctor for 10 minutes and finally drive 30 minutes back to home or work, said Fergus Griffin, senior vice president of solutions and product marketing at Salesforce.com. “That is not really optimal.”

It makes far more sense to develop applications that can help patients and doctors communicate remotely, as well as monitor patient conditions in real time, Griffin added.

Salesforce.com has grown at a breakneck pace in recent years, and is hoping that a move into verticals will help sustain that pace. Earlier this year, it announced plans to enter six verticals: health care and life sciences, retail and consumer products, communications and media, public sector and automotive/manufacturing; and financial services and insurance.

Former U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra is heading up the effort along with sales chief Keith Block, who spent decades at Oracle, a company with ample experience selling to industries.

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