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Leveraging Individualized, Mobile Experiences to Drive Member/Patient Engagement at Scale
Episode

Dan Sweeney, the VP at Relay Network

Leveraging Individualized, Mobile Experiences to Drive Member/Patient Engagement at Scale

Are you ready to take the next step to improve your customer experience? In this episode, we are excited to host Dan Sweeney, the VP at Relay Network.

Dan discusses how his company leverages innovation to create a personalized and frictionless customer experience. Relay developed a private and secure digital connectivity on smart devices so your customers have the hyper-personalized content and services when they need it. 

Dan also talks about how Relay can improve business outcomes and cites great examples and analogies so we can better understand the concept of elevating the customer experience. He also shares challenges, insights, and things he’s excited about. 

We’ve really enjoyed our interview with Dan and we learned new things about customer experience. We hope you do, too!

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Leveraging Individualized, Mobile Experiences to Drive Member/Patient Engagement at Scale

About Guest

Dan Sweeney is the Vice President at Relay Network, the dedicated channel that enables companies to deliver individualized, frictionless communications to patients that build engagement, improve outcomes, and elevate the patient experience. 

Dan advises industry practitioners as they look to meet the new customer expectations for service interactions, personalized, proactive, easy, and available on mobile. Prior to Relay Dan spent much of his career with the corporate executive board delivering new products to the F1000 Marketplace. Dan Is a graduate of Fairfield University and currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

Leveraging Individualized, Mobile Experiences to Drive Member/Patient Engagement at Scale with Dan Sweeney, the VP at Relay Network transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Leveraging Individualized, Mobile Experiences to Drive Member/Patient Engagement at Scale with Dan Sweeney, the VP at Relay Network was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket, Saul Marquez here today, I have the privilege of hosting Dan Sweeney on the podcast. He is the Vice President at Relay Network, the dedicated channel that enables companies to deliver individualized, frictionless communications to patients that build engagement, improve outcomes, and elevate the patient experience. Dan advises industry practitioners as they look to meet the new customer expectations for service interactions, personalized, proactive, easy, and available on mobile. Prior to Relay Dan spent much of his career with the corporate executive board delivering new products to the F1000 Marketplace. Dan Is a graduate of Fairfield University and currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And it’s going to be a great conversation today. Such a pleasure to have you here, Dan. Thanks for joining us.

Dan Sweeney:
Yeah, thanks for having me, Saul.

Saul Marquez:
So before we dive into what exactly Relay Network does, Dan, I want to know more about you, man. What got you interested in health care?

Dan Sweeney:
You know, I come through health care naturally through I’d say, end-user or consumer communications. I’m passionate about the concept of innovations. And when you look at health care from a communications perspective within users, it’s been pretty stagnant for, gosh, the last call it even 10 to 15 years. When you look at the marketplace today, we’re seeing a lot of movement within benefit communities as well as pharmacies. Just the other day, we saw the announcement that Amazon has now gone to market with their pharmacy. And it means that there’s going to be a lot of disruption and there’s going to be a lot of innovation. Those that focus on customer communication capability, arguably the ones that are successfully moving forward.

Saul Marquez:
You bring up a good point. That’s a big, big thing that happened in our business. And we’re going to see what happens with Amazon. So tell us about CX And I’m a big fan of saying let’s get rid of acronyms level set with people so that they know exactly what we’re doing here. But talk to us about what really network is up to. And more than anything, I mean, educate us. We want to learn more.

Dan Sweeney:
CX is essentially customer experience. When we think about kind of what the customer experience looks like today, whether you are a health care institution or frankly, a financial services business or even a home services business like cable and automotive, everything you’re trying to do, all of your business outcomes are focused on your capability to successfully communicate effectively with the customer, right? Yeah. Do you think about how we’ve done that historically? It comes down to what are the historic communication modalities. With an outbound phone that can be really expensive. We have emails that frankly, we have Black Friday coming up next week. I don’t know about you, but I have nineteen hundred and eighty-six unread emails in my personal inbox.

Saul Marquez:
Insane.

Dan Sweeney:
A lot of clutter for your business partners to try and drive through in order to get the right message to you at the right time in the relationship. So what happened is about ten years ago, at the dawn of the digital revolution, they said it’s going to be great, we’re going to build self-service portals and we’re going to build mobile apps. And then it’s the Field of Dreams mantra, right? If we build it, they will come. Unfortunately, you see that only about 15 to 20 percent of all end users are actually registering for portals or downloading apps. But it still doesn’t get you the adoption that you’re looking for. Right, because it’s still that self-service mantra. And Saul today’s Friday after dinner tonight, you’re going to sit down. Just about the last thing you’re going to do is say, I think I’ll log on to my dental portal and try and figure out what education in here is right for me and my family, based on where we are and our benefit here, it’s just how the US consumer operates. We operate more closely to what I would call a guided service mantra. Are you familiar with that concept?

Saul Marquez:
No, I’m not.

It’s this idea that you see with like a Netflix or even an Amazon Prime or Zappos Friday night, to extend the analogy, Saul. You’re going to sit down, you’re going to turn on Netflix and they’re going to know that you’re a huge Tom Cruise fan right there. Algorithms say, OK, so I’ll watch Top Gun Days of Thunder last month. We’re going to proactively offer up a guided service experience. Here are all the other Tom Cruise vehicles that we have in our catalog. So we’re going to make it easy. We’re going to educate you on what you want to know and we’re going to empower you to take action quickly. And in effect, that’s what Rely is doing for CX in heavily regulated spaces like health care and financial services requires a private and secure connection. Yesterday I got to get you to register for a portal and come find your content yourself service. I got to get you to download an app. But one of these businesses does when they can only get 15 to 20 percent adoption via self-service methodology like that. And that’s where realize innovations have kind of flipped them on their head. So we’re going to proactively push the right content, the right personalization to the right individual at the right time.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating. And thank you for level setting there, Dan. Does the model change or are you still have the portal? Do you still have the app, but now the way that you reach out changes. Talk to us a little bit about that.

Dan Sweeney:
Yeah, sure. You’re absolutely right. We’re not really competitive with what are those existing apps or portals, but more so we’re very complementary. What we’re saying is that something’s missing, which is the communication hub that drives the individual to the right static content at the right time. So what we’ve developed is we establish one to one private and secure digital connectivity on the smart device between our client organization and their end user. And with each one of those connections comes what we call the relay customer feed to completely white labeled private and secure website that’s uniquely built rather than as an information library, as a communication vehicle, so that you can proactively notify an individual that they have a secure message that’s waiting for them, but most importantly, because they’re pre verified prior to coming in, how you establish that consent, you don’t have to go through a lengthy registration process. So what you’re in effect doing is you’re creating frictionless communications. You’re taking all the friction out of the relationship so they can notify level set expectations of what’s required of the relationship as it is today and then give them action buttons that drives them to inbound call or drive them over to your portal. But deep, deep link them uniquely to the right resource that they require based on where they are in the lifecycle.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating. So talk to us about how the process and technology and really everything that makes up Relay is different than than what’s available out there today.

Dan Sweeney:
Yeah, yeah, you got it. We’re a communication channel. So what we’re looking at is we’re saying we want to drive as many of your business outcomes as humanly possible, whether that’s a reduction in OpEx associated with, you know, requiring a pharmacy to not have to make manual outbound call campaigns to try to catch patients right. Or you want to make it really easy for a health benefit to proactively address what is a preventative care scenario with an individual patient or to say to them, hey, we saw that you went to an E.R. last month. Did you know that the same diagnosis code could have been addressed by an urgent care center? Would have been easier for you, would have been cheaper for you? It would have been cheaper for us. And by the way, we have a private connection. We know where you live. We’re proactively going to offer up to you right here. We’re all the closest urgent care centers are for you. So in doing so, it’s not that your consumers don’t want to be healthier, that we’re not making it easy for them because we’re asking them to take all the left. But in essence, as their vendor, you’re working for them.

Saul Marquez:
Now, that’s awesome, man. And so give us a story, Dan, give us an example of how this Relay communication methodology, it’s focused on the customer experience. How is it that you guys have improved outcomes or made business better? Talk to us about that.

Dan Sweeney:
That’s a great question. About three and a half, four years ago, we entered into the specialty pharmacy marketplace for the first time. Anybody that’s a health care background that today about 50 percent of all the health care spend is in is in pharmaceuticals. Today, in the specialty pharmaceuticals marketplace, I’d say about seventy-five percent of all the scripts are controlled by exactly four organizations, the really big players. As I start dialoguing with some of those midsize and smaller pharmacies, whether they’re affiliated with a health system or their independence. If they’re not being consolidated by a big boy, you ask, how are you going to compete? And they say we’re going to compete on the customer relationship, on that patient relationship. I say, got it. How do you communicate with them today? And they say, well, every single month we make outbound calls to about ninety-eight percent of all of our patients. On average, it takes three point five to four point five attempts in order to catch an individual, just ask them the same six questions that we did last month prior to refill.

Dan Sweeney:
In some cases, these businesses are taking nurse practitioners and pharmacists relatively expensive resources and turning them into an outbound call farm. I’m really saying there’s a better way. The early pharmacies that we went live with, we said let’s establish digital connectivity with your patient base at scale. And then in a HIPAA compliant environment, you can ask them those six questions or you can tell them it’s time for refill. And just by converting, even with an action button, what used to be an outbound attempt into an inbound call from an empowered patient when they know they have the time to have that conversation really quickly, within a matter of about six to eight weeks, we can eliminate about 50 percent of the outbound call volume for the pharmacy. Each one of those calls then on average, about four dollars and fifty four dollars and fifty cents in OpEx. So you see really quickly with scale, those outcomes really start to add up, especially for what is a significantly large, low margin business, like a specialty pharmacy.

Saul Marquez:
That’s fascinating. That is fascinating, Dan. And you know, it’s just the capability and being introduced to it, right, and being open to the idea that there’s something else out there, there’s another way for us to do it, and traditionally in health care, we’ve been behind the eight ball on technology implementation and COVID’s been a blessing and a curse, but a blessing because we’re more open now. And so as everybody’s listening to this episode today, you might want to ask yourself, am I doing things the old way when I could be considering the new way? And our discussion here with Dan is certainly about the new way that could help you scale and add value to your customers. So talk about setbacks with us, Dan. And, you know, we all experience them and I believe we learn most from them. So talk to us about one and a key learning that came out of it.

Dan Sweeney:
Yeah. Yeah. Right. Before I get into a setback, you know, just to add on on what you just said there, as you think about you think about what’s happening in the marketplace and not being OK with it, with the norm, if you will. I have dialogues with marketing and communications executives every single day that say, I think that our hit rates are good on our outbound communications when they’re at 15 and 20 percent. And I’m saying I know that that’s a benchmark that’s in the industry today. But since when in our society are we OK with just 15 to 20 percent. Going as far back to grade school right, we call 60 percent of D, 70 percent a C. And see what I’m talking about is I want to leapfrog and with Relay, we’re seeing 80 percent engagement rates with the audio messages that you’re sending and completely personalized in a HIPAA compliant way. One of the setbacks that that I see is this misnomer that what is doing from a communication perspective is somehow competitive with the existing investments, that health care is made in portals and mobile apps. I would describe a portal or mobile app as a digital information repository. It’s like a library of tools. But if so, here happens to have a therapeutic stake like diabetes. You might go to your benefit provider’s portal and say, in order to find education that you’re looking for, first you find your disease state, then you find the video library, then you find the one that’s all about living with diabetes in your workplace. And now you’re watching it with each one of those steps. What you see is an engagement falloff. So one of the biggest hurdles for me to climb, so to speak, Saul, is the dialogue around the difference between a communication channel, a new type of modality, and what its content right, and educational components or pieces that you’re driving individuals to. So when it comes to outcomes, you can have the best content in the world. But if you don’t have the right means to get the right message to the right individual at the right time, everything about your communication strategy falls to no.

Saul Marquez:
You know, that’s that’s really interesting, Dan. And you think about the portals and the apps as information repositories. I mean, let’s think about this. How many of us? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t ever even go to the library anymore because I could buy any book that I want. And Amazon is recommending the books that I want. And so is Apple because I download stuff from Apple and so is audible. So what you’re saying here is is powerful. And I hope that everyone is capturing it. And it’s worth reemphasizing that our apps and all of our portals are just static information repositories. And so what you’re offering is different. It’s offering that new engagement model. And so talk to us about what you’re most excited about today.

Dan Sweeney:
What I’m most excited about is I kind of established at the top of this call that what we’re doing at scale is delivering one to one private and secure connections and then all the tools that allow that to work so they can drive significantly more of the business outcomes that are key to your business. Right. once you establish that at scale and we have pharmacies today that establish one-to-one connectivity with, you know, 95percent of all of their patients, there are Blue Cross Blue Shield benefit providers out there that have more than 651,000 one to one digital connections. Once you’ve built out your private and secure network network like that, there’s significant, tremendous value to it. And where Relay is today is just at the end of last year, we took on additional backing from private equity where we say we have all the funding. Now we’re going to continue to build the tools for both our clients and their end users. That’s going to continue to remove all the friction from their communications. What does that mean? Means now that you have the private and secure environment with a connection, let’s put bill pay on top of it. Let’s put document upload on top of it. Let’s do two sides and execution’s let’s do attestations as well as assessments so that once you build all those tools on your private network. It removed all that friction and allows you to say, no matter what the use cases with the patient, we’re going to proactively message them level, set expectations on what’s required of them and make it easy and frictionless for them to take action and get in and out of customer service experiences. And those are the folks that are going to win moving forward. And frankly, that’s why everybody’s so concerned about Amazon entering the marketplace because this is what they do really well. They already have the network of connections and they have it at scale.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Now, well said. And it is about removing friction and there’s a lot of friction in health care. So, you know, what are we going to do here, folks? You know, we could listen to this awesome interview with them and just say, yeah, that’s a good idea and move on. Or we could say, hmm, I better think about this. I better do something about this. And I think now’s the time. So, Dan, this has been awesome, man. I really thank you for sharing your insights. I’m sure we could spend, like, hours talking about applications. We don’t have that time today, but we did have the time to introduce this idea to the listeners and folks the website is RelayNetwork.com to learn more. And why don’t you leave us, Dan, with a closing thought and then the best place where you feel the listeners could best get in touch with you and your team.

Dan Sweeney:
Yeah, I guess my closing thoughts Saul as a little bit of a movie buff myself, is when I think about where the marketplace is today, I think about one of my favorite quotes from Jaws. I need a bigger boat. We’re going to need a bigger boat. I think about that when it comes to what’s happening in the consumer marketplace today for health care and what are the lines for getting the right message to the right individuals? You need to think different. We need to think about innovations and we need to think about them on a really large scale. What I love about Relay is, I believe we’re that bigger boat and I believe that we can have the legs across the entire marketplace. And I’m fired up each and every day to continue that journey. Reaching out to us, I think you hit the nail on the head RelayNetwork.com is is a great spot to start. You’ll find additional information about me on there, as well as insights from what is the wonderful team that I work with here in Philadelphia. And I say feel free to reach out, even if it’s just to have a little bit of a dialog. Always happy to meet somebody new in the marketplace.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Dan, appreciate that opportunity. And folks take advantage of of checking out RelayNetwork.com And all the awesome work that they’re doing in this chain, just basically changing the experience for for customers. Now’s the time. And Dan, really thankful that you introduced us to this today.

Dan Sweeney:
Yeah, thanks, Saul. I appreciate you having me.

Saul Marquez:
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Things You’ll Learn

  • Businesses that focus on customer communication capability are the ones successfully moving forward. 
  • When it comes to the consumer marketplace in healthcare, we need to think differently. We need to think about innovations and think about them on a really large scale. 
  • Healthcare is always behind on technology implementation.
  • If you don’t have the right means to get the right message to the right individual at the right time, everything about your communication strategy falls to no.

 

Resources

https://www.relaynetwork.com/