Making Digital Delivery For Mental Health Improve Engagement and Outcomes with Ken Cahill, CEO at SilverCloud Health
Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.
: Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring health leaders. Today I have an outstanding guest for you today. His name is Ken Cahill. He's the CEO at SilverCloud Health. Ken comes from an entrepreneurial background with experience in product and sales strategy, financial and channel management while holding senior roles from a successful career covering H.R., software, e-commerce, telecom to banking, atm solutions. He's extremely passionate about how technology can be used to provide meaningful positive impact on people's lives. He's worked with a number of large multinational organizations such as Gateway, HP and Dell and Europe. The U.S. and India. Ken is super passionate and knowledgeable in this space and he is focused hyperfocus in healthcare now at SliverCloud Health. So it's a pleasure to have you on the podcast Ken. So glad you could make it here to join us.
: Also thank you for the invitation to come on a long time listener for some color.
: Hey. Thank you so much. And so what is it that got you into the medical sector to begin with Ken?
: I think it was accidental in a lot of ways but from my perspective. I met with some of the team behind SilverCloud back in its very early days when it was still a research project and the I'm thawn way with by the team that passed the team that the approach they had taken to a very difficult topic a very difficult situation in terms of what mental health culture has been and the transformation that was beginning to take on in terms of stigmatizing of the Tippoo slowed European reboot from a from kind of what I would refer to. I've often referred to as a highly medicalize family, an interesting cross-section of chronic diseases such as genetic diseases that have passed since my family but my mom was is was a nurse, midwife and a pediatric. So grown up an icon a health care background.
: That's supercool.
: Yeah it is. That being said my wife will often complain how the sympathy levels are quite low for any injury that she sustained compared to the level of sympathy that we would have gotten when we were kids at home due to the fact of the exposure to diesel or sensitized so moving the team. It was very clear the approach they had taken was something quite new. From what I see and you know mental health is such a significant economic and social need for us for improvement. So that was really what got me interested in healthcare and you seeing personal family impacts by mental health I think there's very few people that would be around today that would would have been actively affected by their close family members and can affect their mental health in one way shape or form.
: Yeah I think that's so great. And recently we had our interview with a physician out out west. He has you know he's an Anesthesiology Pain Physician and big approach that he's taken with his pain patients is a mental health approach. So definitely a spillover effect is huge as you and your team look to tackle this space. What is it that makes you guys different?
: I think the team makes us different. I'll be very honest. And you know the approach they've had to what we're tackling the approach that we've had to a small thing but we don't refer to the users on our platform as being patients we would unless we have to for the customers to understand who we're talking about but we will refer to them as clients. And the reason for that is we don't load on to terms of stigma. And also the fact that we need to treat them as being customers of what we offer. So we know they have alternatives. We know that they have alternatives in terms of healthcare in terms of utilization usage all the rest of them we're competing with other parts of their lives in terms of how they can go and watch television they can go on YouTube or Facebook or anything else like that. So as a result of that we need to be cognizant that we think give them an experience that is impactful positive and engaging for them. So that has cut us with the big parts.
: That's awesome. And so you guys are working with a highly specialized team. You're creating some very interesting solutions to tackle this problem or mental health. How would you say and what would you say a hot topic that needs to be an every medical leaders agenda today as it relates to mental health?
: I think fundamentally mental health is the reason that you and I and the listeners got up this morning. That is what it all boils down to. Mental health is the reason why we do or don't do anything ion this life. Everything is behavioral related in some way shape or form. I don't sort of wax lyrical on statistics but the CDC would estimate that one in four of the global population will have a noticable mental health disorder in any given year of their lives. So that's couple things as one of four of the population that is globally. So that's you know pulling out or ruling things around know conditions are there so that in any given year or somebody's life. So as a result of that it's a very very significant. We then even add in issues around chronic disease and the numbers then increase an even more alarming rate. So something else inverted commas as normalized as say diabetes care diabetes you're going to see the prevalence rates there increased around 45 percent of people who have diabetes who also have comorbid challenges around clinical levels of depression, anxiety or stress which is impacting their health care utilization, the medication adherence, their compliance all those kind of key factors which as management or executive level or or other within a health system that's impacting how we deliver care, why we deliver care and all the other elements that are there and then we look at the cost multiplier within reported him from Medicaid for delivery of a patient and he serves me it was around that it was around nine and a half thousand dollars to deliver care to a patient with diabetes in a year. But if you brought in the comorbidity which remember happens almost one and two times what 45 percent of the time in the comorbidity you're looking at that cost multiplier bringing in the cost up to about thirty six thirty seven thousand dollars a year. That's a huge increase. Huge difference in terms that you then include things like cardiovascular disease, oncology all these different elements and I you know I grew up in a kind of family environment that kind of said you know a will is stronger than any medication and was that's not backed in any scientific basis of course not. There is an element to that in terms of the positive approach acceptance and sort of the adherence but also the anxiety of communication with the clinician. You know even something like diabetes looking at things like sexual health impact that can have a family and also things around guilt and shame, things around it. What are the long term impacts of this disease and condition on my life or my parents issues mortality and other things like that. And then also looking at you know for every one person who has a has a chronic disease centre they're typically surrounded by up to six people who are severely affected by that. An example would be our wife with breast cancer and you know that the husband who is severely affected by that or other types of issues like that. So again mental health is such a huge component to unlocking chronic disease. I think it was time in Salt Cellar before that you mental health can have a bigger impact on somebody's health and a more significant impact on somebody's health. And a thousand different sensors. I think that's that's that's very true. So that's the part of what I do and have been doing for the eight years that gets me excited is the impact that we're having of people's lives. We see the impact we see the feedback we thought there was a platform now around 180000 patients since 2012 since we spun out of research. I see some other quality feedback not just constant. And it isn't just that it is about pulling people back from the edge saving people's lives and saving their marriage and all the other elements like that and I kind of mentioned in the intro. Thank you for that. But that's quite different than banking software and hardware software.
: Huge. And you're making some really positive impact in this space Ken, you and your and your team tell us about that platform. Who uses it and what does it do?
: Yes certainly. And so what we have developed sort of spin out from well over a decade of research and that research was coming was bringing together a number of kind of key opinion leaders in search of better experts. And I suppose looking at the big question that was there from the research was looking at the challenges that are there around delivery of digital delivery of mental health and how I suppose effectively there are a number of barriers that limit the level of effectiveness that are there and those barriers are around high levels of client or patient drop rates low levels of client arrangements and limited levels clinical approval. So essentially digital delivery for mental health hadn't worked up to that point and still argue another time still isn't working in terms of those kind of 3 criteria. So that was the overarching question behind. And that's I suppose a research thesis behind Superflat. So what the team did was they developed a platform that was focus on those engagement pieces so core was engagement and all cost and you know how were the key part of measurable change because of measurable change from client perspective. So the team builds a platform which will focused on both the engagement and the outcomes perspective. And we knew that if we could keep them engaged long enough and deliver the right content and supportive tools to them we could help them in a meaningful way the material way. So to an unfairly boil 14 years plus worth of research down we built a platform the team built platform which was the concept of set aside P.S. that was highly applied from us highly social highly interactive highly personalized and highly supportive. So it's kind of for the four pillar elements that the platform is built on. So from a patients perspective from the client's perspective they get access who is online environment that is essentially a digitization of what you would do within face to face therapy or care using text, infographics, audio, quizzes, videos and other typical content that you see to triple effort or live in an online environment accessible on multiple devices like your tablet, your desktop dedicated apps also on a smartwatch device those kind of things that multiple different interaction and touch points with it. And essentially what is designed to do is use core intervention style will be what's called cognitive behavioral therapy and that is really focused on kind of the executive function of the brain how we have you how I or anyone else will we take in information processes and we sort of you know we create an almost outcome or a reaction to it. And often what we can do is we can we can take information in and often we can run more or less of brain with computers and often will do in the wrong way. So catastrophizing or or negative thinking styles or any those kind of elements which can which can kind of spiral down a negative spiral in terms of how we take information in process and then sort of react to it in terms of a physical reactions or how we react to it in greater parts where it lives. So I as as a client will have access to the platform. I could be introduced to it by you know my primary care physician you know see secondary care specialist care like OBGYN,new and expect mothers all the way through to within healthcare organizations to amuse themselves for their own for ease for physician burnout issues and other big issues like that.
: That's fascinating Yeah. And you guys are even helping providers with their physician burnt out disease.
: Yeah well if if we look at it from the perspective of a lot of these large health systems we'll be self-insured. And also these are employee population as well. So it's almost double that a double impact in terms of that population group insofar as they have to pay for the health care costs of that group but also they're getting impacted in positively absenteeism presenteeism issues and challenges as well. If they don't react and also they're going to see a higher level of cost if they don't react in a timely way as well. So as a client I access the platform over typically a kind of six to eight week period of time anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes per week and essentially in doing so learn in kind of about those couples are behavioral techniques to help me to sort of have and build that kind of toolkit in terms of how I how I process the different kind of parts of life. So we've built on the platform a highly engaging platform we've built our programs that 30 programs over 30 programs across mental health like depression anxiety stress all the way through to chronic disease programs. Programs around diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pain management, COPD and those programs are looking at the comorbid psychological stressors and challenges that are there with the chronic disease as well. So the platform itself and integrates within the health system within the electronic health record. It mirrors the care protocols so becomes not a tangent to care because something that's get very integrated and that's one of the key steps that we've done it becomes very integrated within the healthcare delivery. Not a poor cause and oath but a very credible first port of call to you know that's where we've grown. You know we've over 210 organizations using the platform today across five countries and we've overcome all the sort of challenges along the road of how we embed how we connect with you know to borrow a sales force or come expression you know that what they have done around customer success so how do we make the healthcare organization really feel and be successful with using SilverCloud so you know the patient satisfaction scores, the outcomes acceptability, the usability of it. All those elements are all those boxes are being ticked.
: Ah super interesting. Thank you for sharing that Ken. Now can you share with the listeners a time or a setback that you guys had and what you learned in this process?
: I think you don't have multiple setbacks along the route of the majority like Lakewood or any part of any part of life. And I suppose you know there's an expression a mechanic on his or her car a cobbler and his or her shoes so in the sea of mental health company I kind of have to pertainto be whiter than white in terms of my mental health. But yes I think following an entrepreneurial journey it's difficult, it's challenging and you know some of the work that I'm trying to do in the back and the sideline as well is sort of support him a very heavily exposed thing that you're doing here. You're putting yourself out all the time trying to raise funds and having you know 99 percent of all the people you will talk to will reject you or almost reject you in some way shape or form. So it's always always a challenge to part. And I think for you know if I go back to that kind of positive feedback remember we had hired a member of the team and they have agreed and accepted to come on board and that unfortunate decided not to join us. And you know that was after a lengthy recruitment process and it was a shame. One of my colleagues James sent me over some of the quotations some of the quotes some of the feedback from the users of the platform and some of the impact that we were having day in day out and that was kind of enough to kind of say you could push yourself off and off you go. And I'm sure we've had a lot of challenges. Much bigger and much greater than that but that's always a stand out moment. It really made me understand that while we were doing was different was different than what I had done before that this was stepping into people's homes. It was impacting people, their families, their communities, the workplaces and how we were being contacted now by cities, by state and even by countries who were looking to improve the mental health of their own country. Some are looking to provide something that is a safety net a catch in terms that interventional mental health around clinical and an even more severe level of depression or distress. And then all of these large organizations, large bodies of populations and swathes of people who are looking for the positive mental health side. So things around resilience, coping skills, relationships in this sort of fast moving environment and world whereby we're constantly being connected we're also can challenge where our brains are on an awful lot more of the time than they probably were 20 30 40 years ago maybe even 10 years ago. We're seeing a lot more people looking for an ability in a way to compartmentalize why into town and why wind up at the start and at the end of a week.
: I think that's super fascinating Ken and appreciate you sharing that it's tough I mean when you're in the process of hiring somebody especially a critical role you pour in a lot and that have had that person not respond and not take the role. I'm sure was really tough. I've been through that myself. It's not fun and it's wonderful that we have a team like you do colleagues that are there to remind you of the purpose and you get to remind each other you know. And in a message to the listeners don't forget about why you're doing what you're doing specially in those tough times.
: Yes absolutely. You can kind of become so close on yourself that you forget what you are doing and why you're doing it. And I think often kind of the position that I have maybe it's the personality that I have as well as I can often be too even a kill to not to swing low sweet high in terms of reaction that you have to be a steady ship. And after what happens then is the positive maybe flyby or or cause overpass a little too often in terms of the progress and it's only when you maybe talk to yourself her or even other people who maybe I haven't spoken to in 6 9 months 12 whatever it might be and they kind of are asking for an update or how you guys are doing. And you're gonna able to you know talk about the numbers the impact the outcome. So we're seeing the platform now on average across our and of 180000 users clients or seen seeing about 81 percent. We'll see a clinical improvement.
: That's huge.
: Yeah which is just for me is phenomenal. Now is the be all end all of what we do. And no thank you. And this Congress for the team it's the there's also the humbleness as well. You know we're all will all admit fully the whole team right across the organization. So we know something we don't know everything. No there. And there's that humbleness of continued research so we'd have 20 different research trials running today depress the world here in the U.S. and Europe, the UK and also in the likes of Colombia and Argentina. So there is that acceptance of it's wonderful what you know so far. But don't forget that there is an awful lot more that you need to learn and I know that is terrible but it's often it's often forgotten that it's also celebrate the winds as well.
: That's awesome. Yant can no doubt you know there's so much left for us to learn especially in mental health. Up to this point. What would you say your proudest experience to date is in what you've been doing at SilverCloud?
: I think the proudest has to be the numbers. So we have a couple of large screens in the office with US the UK and Ireland which is one here in Boston and we've had screens up in the office which are essentially a dashboard which will cover things like you know how many users clients have come on and then there's just one very large number which isn't a fun size only one very large number on the screen which is a number of uses that we deliver the platform to the number of clients so far. Just seeing that take over seeing that go when we have every time it's over a sort of milestone number if you will be fifty thousand seventy five or hundreds all the way through to 150000 we try and mark the occasion whether all the team will go out at lunch or even grab a beer. We don't start pause and reflect and kind of on. That's pretty cool. That's pretty you know and that's kind of one of the that's for me is is the kind of that that the single proudest moment that I've ever had has been kind of always around that number showing that impact and then seeing over time the number growing and the pace that the numbers come in. So we all will hit north of 280 thousands clients or patients delivered by March next year. So we're just accelerating off. And you know what are my other colleagues Karen Teralba lines from that interview that she did before you know medical school was that for me and for anyone who has been but I'm very proud by the number that we have in the organization we've probably delivered more care in a shorter period of time than perhaps we could have if we all became trained as charters which is kind of a kind of humbling.
: It really is. Kudos to you guys and folks. A couple notes here from Kenz share other screens and his and his offices in Boston and London and Ireland is that you've got to measure you've got to have optics to know that you're moving in the right direction and to you've got to celebrate those winds when you get to that end point. Celebrate it. Don't just pass it and go to the next one on Thursday. And can you guys do such a great job of that. If he had right now what's an exciting project that you're working on within SilverCloud health that you want to share?
: That's another part of it. It's humbling to see some of the projects working with some of the organizations that are not to be too dramatic but some of the names of organizations that we're working with. I would have killed just two a number of years ago just to get a chance to talk to them who have kind of approached us or are looking to work with on some on some really exciting things around it. Either data or digital delivery or sensor technology or whatever it might be just so much stuff that makes me really excited but in terms of product to talk about I think it's going to sound boring and cliche but for us it's about scaling, it's about process element. It's about making the organization you know the old clichés succession management but it's about making the organization so bigger doesn't it no longer resides in my head or in other members of the team we're in our leadership teams heads or anyone else at that SilverCloud is bigger than all of us. And that for me is something that is very humbling but it has its self living it has its own heartbeat it hasn't some ability and that's part of the culture. So the products that we that we do is around measurement as you mentioned around the measurement of impact that we have across the content we're delivering the platform the clinical delivery and of course the kind of commercial impact that we have with the organization. So that's one of the biggest one the biggest projects that we have is is really continuing that scale as we bring on more and more organizations or more users. Is that kind of automation that sort of scale automation but without losing the touch points that can a feeling of almost sort of boy club service or organizations hopefully will say back to me when you ask them in terms of working with us.
: And it's pretty great and big reason to be excited about. Now we're getting close to the end here ken. This part of the podcasts I've got four questions lightning round style for you followed by a book that you recommend to the listeners. We're going to do a little syllabus 101 on Mental Health with Ken Cahill. So hooray for it. Absolutely. All right. Let's do it. So what's the best way to improve mental health outcomes?
: I think if you can still boil it down what is an outcome. I think the outcomes have to be measurable and you can't argue with numbers. So having a measurable and making sure that it's going the right way.
: What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?
: I think the biggest pitfall to avoid is taking yourself too seriously and kind of being closed off from what's going on outside?
: It's great message. How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?
: I think the changes you say is constant. I think having that level of humbleness you know you're right every time you put the best effort forward nobody has all the right answers but humbleness are going to ask the end user that the clients the caregiver the health care coordinator kind of be open for that next little spark of genius that might come from a conversation rather than kind of being head down stuck in a box behind the laptop or whatever it might be like giving up and getting out there and trying to evolve.
: Ken, that's such a great message you know I feel like a lot of us as healthcare leaders we could get pretty stuck in our tracks and we could pass by our coffee, or a grocery and we're not going to smell the coffee we get to smell the coffee and be open to those insights.
: That's a really great message. Finally what's the one area of focus that should drive everything in a health care organization?
: I think that's kind. If banks that feeling of treat a patient as a client or a customer a problem for us they have alternatives in terms of care don't think they have over alternatives in terms of usage of distractions and their lives are human and they have human behaviors. So if we were talking about retail, we could look at how can we possibly improve so I think within healthcare I have to say as well.
: Awesome. What book would you recommend to the listeners as part of this syllabus?
: It's less of a mental health book perhaps with elements so a lot of elements of health and mental health illness and possibly a reason the old classic. Richard Francis Losing My Virginity. I think it's just a classic entrepreneur business will struggle get beaten up back at it again and stay in the boxing ring type book that is one that you can kind of pick up read and then read again in six months time and still love it even more every time you do.
: That's awesome. I had not heard of Richard's book. I'll definitely be adding it to my list Ken. Listeners you can go to outcomesrocket.health/silvercloud or you'll be able to find the show notes transcript to our talk as well as a link to Ken's company and all the things that we've discussed can here to the end. We'd love if you could just share a closing thought. And then the best place for the listeners to get more information. Our follow you.
: I think closer to home for me has to be you know borrowing a slogan from from Nike it's just do it. Just keep on doing those terms of innovating terms of helping improve health care and healthcare delivery say in the boxing ring. As long as you can. They've got to be. It's got to be my one. In term of contacts. Always happy to talk to anyone email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks for the opportunity Saul.
: Absolutely can and looking forward to seeing what you guys do here in the next year. Getting that name a 280000. Excited for the things that you guys are doing for patients but clients in the health care space. Thanks again for taking the time to be with us.
: All of us Saul. Thank you.
Hey outcomes rocket friends thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in healthcare you have big ideas great products a story to tell and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there is one tiny problem. Healthcare is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is slow. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy at the outcomes rocket. I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for and the same thing goes. If you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly.
I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomes rocket health slash podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomes rocket health slash podcast.
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