On Thursday, Salesforce announced a new telehealth system that would allow medical professionals and patients to video chat using their mobile devices.The solution is part of the Salesforce Health Cloud, and could potentially give caregivers the ability to provide more convenient and targeted care.

Salesforce Health Cloud was developed in partnership with Accenture, Deloitte, MuleSoft, Persistent, Philips, and PwC, and allows medical professionals to build a patient profile that aggregates all the patient data from different sources. This helps provide a fuller view of the patient, and also lets users set reminders and view a timeline of care.

Previously, the Salesforce Health Cloud offered users access to secure communication, but it was primarily text-based, using things like SMS or traditional chat. The new telehealth solution extends the communication through the Health Cloud with two-way video chat, and also offers screen sharing on iOS and Android. It is built on the Salesforce SOS mobile video chat agent.

Using their providers’ Health Cloud mobile app, patients tap a single icon and are able to use the video chat service in real time from any location. According to a Salesforce press release: “Care teams can assess problems directly, provide additional educational resources or schedule an office follow-up.”

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When the video chat feature is engaged, Health Cloud automatically pulls in patient data from their profile. This allows the medical professional to view previous records or information on family medical history while speaking with the patient.

“Telehealth solutions like two-way video chat for Health Cloud can be used for scenarios ranging from health coaching and education, to post-discharge care, to replacing existing nurse call lines,” the press release said.

Salesforce is working with a group of partners, including Persistent Systems, Silverline, and other partners, to build out the features of the new video chat system.

Of course, Salesforce isn’t the first company to try its hand at telehealth. Many doctors and therapists have been making use of the Microsoft Kinect for the Xbox to work with patients and develop treatments. Other companies like Doctor on Demand, Pager, MDLIVE, and Teladoc offer similar services. Even Google included telehealth services in its Search product back in 2014.

Despite the rise of telemedicine, there are still issues that the market must face as it grows. Regulatory issues around disclosure of electronic medical records (EMR), misdiagnosis, and concerns about over-prescribing are all being considered.

What do you think?

Would you video chat with a doctor on your smartphone? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A new telehealth solution that enables two-way video chat is coming to the Salesforce Health Cloud.
  2. The new tool allows patients to video chat with their doctor via their smartphone, and the doctor is provided with contextual information about the patient.
  3. Despite its rise in popularity, concerns about regulations, privacy, overprescribing, and misdiagnosis are hurdles that telehealth will need to overcome.