Axios Pro: Health Tech Deals
February 03, 2022
Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Hello, health tech readers, and happy Friday eve.

🍿 Situational awareness: After a few days of relative calm, the digital health sector is starting to pop again, and we've got the butter and salt.

🚀 1 big thing: Salesforce's COVID rocket

Illustration of a syringe going into the Salesforce logo.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

If you're not waking up every day thinking about health care, that's a big problem, according to Geeta Nayyar, the chief medical officer of Salesforce. "Every business is a health care business now," she tells Erin.

Why it matters: Salesforce's roughly two-decade history in health care notwithstanding, the pandemic has vaulted the company's role in keeping employees safe and healthy to new heights.

  • The company recently raised the curtain on its latest product, Safety Cloud, which gives companies a platform to manage COVID-19 testing and vaccine history, worker re-entry and event planning.
  • Two large companies are currently using Safety Cloud: Accenture and Traction on Demand, a dedicated Salesforce consulting firm and app developer, Nayyar says.

Driving the news: On day 694 of the pandemic, businesses are beginning to transition back to in-person environments, infectious virus be darned.

  • "There’s a lot of anxiety out in the world and embracing health care is now everyone’s business," says Nayyar.
  • "I think that’s the next step in pandemic — how do we lead through it, put it kind of on the side, and go about our lives?" she adds.

The intrigue: Several large, non-health care businesses have made big bets in the sector of late, only to exit soon after (cough, cough: IBM), so is Salesforce playing a long game, or placing a series of shorter-term bets?

  • Salesforce is "in it to win it," Nayyar says. "We're very much committed to continuing to invest in health care."
  • To be clear, Salesforce isn't just placing a few bets in health and safety: Several high-profile payers, providers, and medical device makers use its customer relationship management (CRM) platform, and it also has a cloud offering specific to health care.

What's next: As the transition "back to normal" begins, tools for vetting people's vaccination history and conducting and recording regular tests will become table stakes.

  • Virtually every business with plans to return to some kind of in-person environment will need integrated systems for securely collecting, storing, and updating health data.
  • "I’m sure we’ll talk again when there’s a new variant," says Nayyar.

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