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Salesforce Connections - how Baptist Health personalizes its patient engagement and what AI may bring to the story

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan June 9, 2023
The Florida-based health system is already a heavy user of Salesforce's Marketing Cloud and Data.


How to personalize and scale patient engagement in the hugely competitive US healthcare sector is a major challenge for all providers. New AI tech may be one way to achieve this, reckons Baptist Health, a 12 hospital system in South Florida, providing over 100 outpatient services, delivered by over 4,000 physicians.

The organization is a big Salesforce customer, using Marketing Cloud and Data Cloud for marketing, as well as Health Cloud, Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, Slack and Tableau. At Connections this week, Val Lopez, AVP, Marketing Operations, Baptist Health South Florida, explained:

We engage with multiple studios within Marketing Cloud, the most recent of which is Data Cloud. This implementation started with a set of marketing goals, [including] unifying disparate data, consolidating marketing profiles, personalized engagement. We established those goals and we've utilized the product set to make those come come true.

To get to personalization around the patient experience is vital, he added:

We do use a lot of the data from Marketing Cloud. A lot of that first party data, and the interactions that our consumers and patients have, are happening across our properties - the call center, our website, email, so on and so forth. We do leverage the data about all of those patient encounters and financial encounters that come out of those EMR [Electronic Medical Records] systems, and unify this in Data Cloud. The information within Health Cloud, specifically our interactions with our call center and consumer access team, all of that goes into Data Cloud. Our team really works within Marketing Cloud to execute, whether those are social ads, paid media ads, web interactions, mobile interactions, email, so on and so forth.


One objective for the marketing team is to have a holistic overview of patients so that the organization can talk to them in the way that they want to be spoken to. Debbie Ferrera Aguiar,  Director - Growth Marketing & Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Baptist Health, explained:

We realize how important the emotional part is to our patients in terms of what we're building, so we wanted to make sure we were accounting for that. We wanted to make sure that we had that one-on-one connection. And we also wanted to make sure that they knew that we knew them without them having to tell us a lot about themselves.

How Baptist Health is able to tell them that is something that can start from the moment the consumer acquisition process begins in Marketing Cloud, she added:

How are we gathering that information and how are we building those experiences, so that they know that we have that personalized engagement with them? Once we have them, we want to make sure that our onboarding piece is all together, and that we're telling the story as one piece. And then finally, from an activation perspective, how we're doing things in terms of how we're touching them, and talking to them. And then as we're looking at this, it all comes together in one whole 360 view.

Post-care, how are we talking to them? How are we taking other services that we offer and letting them know that they can count on us to deliver on those promises as well? And then finally,  retention - is their experience a positive one? Are they getting the kind of information that they want from us? Are we talking to them on a continuous basis? Are we offering those opportunities, and how do we re-engage. All of this is that 360 view and we're really making sure that it's happening along their journey with us.

The organization needed to make sure that it had integrated communication as part and parcel of its marketing lifecycle. Aguiar explained:

It just goes back to that acquisition piece - how we're engaging, how we're bringing in the information that's relevant to [patients], and what they want in their overall experience with Baptist Health. Ultimately, what we want to do is prevent leakage from our [health] system to other systems in our area. So, we're using all of our Salesforce Marketing Cloud products and services to really build that story and touch them along their wellness journey with Baptist Health.


In terms of lessons learned along this journey, Aguiar argued that it’s important to start with a clear, shared vision of your intended destination:

That was one of the main things that we took a look at and we knew where we wanted to go. We knew what our consumers and our patients were asking of us, so we wanted to make sure that we had that holistic view and we had the vision of where we wanted to go. [It's important to make] sure that that the data is there, making sure you know where you're going for your information.

The other part is stakeholders. It's really important to make sure that all of your stakeholders are aligned. You need your IT partners, you need your consumer access [people]. We all have to work together if we want to build that vision of where we want to go with our patient experience. And then ultimately, I really just think it's how you take all of this and bring it all together as a solution.

It all boils down to providing an Amazon-like level of personalized engagement and that all starts with data, said Lopez:

There are several [IT] systems across the health system. We're really collecting that data out of all of those disparate systems, unifying it in Data Cloud to get a full view of who the patient or the consumer is. That really is the foundation of personalization for us. Those data points across the health system to really understand where they're interacting from beginning to end. That data allows us to execute on it.

As to what might lie ahead, Lopez has some thoughts:

There's still a lot of opportunity around journeys and additional use cases for us to continue to grow. But I think what we're hearing [at Connections] is definitely on the roadmap for us. How do we use AI? How do we take advantage of Marketing GPT efficiency for  productivity on the back end for [those of] us that are executing these campaigns, as well as just identifying segments more smartly, utilizing Einstein and all of its capabilities. I think that's a big roadmap item moving forward for us, while we continue to grow our natural organic growth of use cases.

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