• Type to search or press enter for full results.
Type to search or press enter for full results.

 

 

Leveraging Digital Tools and Technology in Healthcare
Episode

Erik Nielsen, Founder and CEO of TAG

Leveraging Digital Tools and Technology in Healthcare

Healthcare can always learn from industries that are very far away. In this episode, we chat with Erik Nielsen, CEO, and founder of TAG, a world-renowned game creator, about leveraging technology to improve people’s lives, mental health, and the intersection between healthcare, advertising, and gaming. With TAG, they are bringing real-life cases and a therapist that hands the coping skills to that specific issue to the audience. 

They have seen that caregivers are gyrating towards the platform to seek help and resources because they often struggle independently. One of their central values is having all of this content available and affordable, creating unlimited viewing packages for under 5 dollars. Erik also shares how the pandemic brought challenges to the business and how they have dealt with them to keep improving people’s lives. 

Tune in and enjoy this episode with Erik and our host Saul! 

Want to start your own podcast or offload the busywork of your current podcast to the pros?

Smooth Podcasting is the producer of our podcast. They help us deliver high quality audio, show notes, transcripts, podcast marketing, and so much more. We totally recommend them!

Check out Smooth Podcasting!

Get The Latest In Your Inbox

SUBSCRIBE

Leveraging Digital Tools and Technology in Healthcare

About Erik Nielsen

Erik is the founder and CEO of TAG. He is passionate about leveraging technology to empower, connect, and enhance people’s lives; he previously co-founded Saffron Project’s advertising agency and the LA-based production studio, McNulty Nielsen. He is an internationally recognized game creator, having won a Global Game of the Year nomination for his board game LINQ. Erik recently led Marketing Strategy at Southwest Airlines and has spent 20+ years advising numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Verizon, P&G, Nike, MasterCard, MSN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, XBOX, Yahoo, and eBay.

Erik is a lifelong tech enthusiast, starting his career at Accenture as a software developer. He and his wife Kellie reside in Dallas, Texas, trying their best to keep up with their twin children, Foster and Ellington.

 

Outcomes Rocket_Erik Nielsen: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Outcomes Rocket_Erik Nielsen: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
Hey everybody, welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket podcast! So excited that you tuned in again. Today, is an episode you’re not going to want to miss. I have the amazing Erik Nielsen with us. He’s the founder and CEO of TAG, he is passionate about leveraging technology to empower, connect and enhance the lives of people everywhere. He previously co-founded the advertising agency Saffron Project and the LA-based production studio McNulty Nielsen. He’s an internationally recognized game creator, having won a global game of the year nomination for his board game LINQ. Got to learn more about that, Erik. Erik recently led marketing strategy at Southwest Airlines and has spent 20 plus years advising numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Verizon, Xbox, yeah, the list is long. He is a lifelong tech enthusiast, having started his career at Accenture, and is now doing some incredible stuff in the mental health space. He, he’s coming to us from Dallas, where he’s there with his wife and his beautiful kids, his twin children, Foster and Ellington. Erik, I’m excited to chat mental health, tech, advertising with you. Thanks for being with us!

Erik Nielsen:
Nice to be with you, Saul, nice to be with you! Thanks for having me on.

Saul Marquez:
Oh, man, my pleasure. So you come to healthcare with a unique perspective and we talk about how can we, how can we learn from adjacent industries and totally different industries like advertising, like the airlines? I love Southwest, by the way.

Erik Nielsen:
Oh, good!

Saul Marquez:
What inspires your work and entry into healthcare?

Erik Nielsen:
Yeah, so for me, it’s a real personal story, it’s a personal journey. A long time ago, I had what I call a practice marriage. And if you golf, I call it a mulligan marriage, shanked it off into the woods. The current marriage piped it down the fairway 330, and we got the twins as a result of that. But yeah, so, you know, went through an early divorce when I was young. And you think your world is ending, right?

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Erik Nielsen:
And so went through a depression. Yeah. Many people go through it. Went through a depression, what could have been a manageable depression. And then like many people, I reached for the quick fix. I said, hey, give me the drugs, I want this done by Monday, I want to get my life back on track, you know, here we go, I don’t like this depression. Well, drugs are great, but they’re also trial and error. And oftentimes, it’s more error in the beginning, and for me it was months and months of error that resulted into a deep, dark depression, suicidal ideation for months and months.

Saul Marquez:
Wow.

Erik Nielsen:
And it was awful. And so it wasn’t until I found a really good therapist where I was like, oh, this, this is what I needed and got back on track. And it always stuck with me that there’s just this gold, this conversation that you have with the therapist, there’s so much gold in that and there’s so much healing in that. But the problem is it’s locked in that room and it costs a mortgage a month to get access to it. So, you know, it never really occurred to me that there was a way to maybe scale that until we started talking about TAG and put it out there. So really, you asked what inspires me? And it’s, it’s a personal experience with where mental health can go that makes me want to help other people.

Saul Marquez:
Well, god bless you, man. I mean, that’s just, first of all, thanks for sharing that, right? I mean, it’s just it’s so real. And I think it’s important for, for us all to, to just to be honest about it, right? Like, I mean, we’ve all felt some sort of depression, we all have.

Erik Nielsen:
Yeah.

Saul Marquez:
And if you’re saying you haven’t, you got to look at yourself in the mirror and really ask yourself, come on, like, seriously, be real with yourself. And so, number one, Erik, as a leader, I really admire that about you. And so now you’re like, you know what? I took a look, it cost a mortgage a month to do this, not everybody can afford that, tell us about TAG. What are you guys doing to add value to the ecosystem?

Erik Nielsen:
Yeah, absolutely. So TAG is digital behavioral health, easily accessible, we’re web-based, so we’re on any platform, and we do something really simple. We say, okay, we love that conversation, we love what happens in that room, so let’s get as much value of that as we can and package it in a really engaging and scalable way. So we have real people who share their struggles, they go deep and get into the detail of daily life and, and how their issues is impacting them, and we call that a testimonial. And then we have a licensed clinician who specializes in whatever condition that is, and they do what we call a game film. So like a coach would, post-film, be talking to his team in the locker room, say, hey, wait, pause right here, you see where the defense went that way, here’s what I want you guys to do. Well, we do the same thing. So the clinician reflects on the person telling the story, talking about their issues, and interjects and gives the coping skills and the techniques to the viewing audience. So we like to say it’s almost like you’re sitting in the room watching therapy happen for a topic that you really care about that affects you.

Saul Marquez:
So I have a question, Erik. So.

Erik Nielsen:
Yeah!

Saul Marquez:
So the, the person speaking, not the clinician, but the person sharing their challenges and struggles, they’re doing this on their own, and then and then is it the clinician sort of layering in over that experience share?

Erik Nielsen:
That’s correct. Yeah.

Saul Marquez:
Got it!

Erik Nielsen:
It’s asynchronous.

Saul Marquez:
Got it. Got it.

Erik Nielsen:
So we get people.

Saul Marquez:
Yep, yep, yep.

Erik Nielsen:
Who just shared their story, and then we have clinicians do the analysis layered into that, yeah.

Saul Marquez:
That’s really.

Erik Nielsen:
It’s been effective, and we’ve got a real high customer satisfaction, we’re at 91%. We came out of the gate late last year and it’s just been pedal to the metal.

Saul Marquez:
Erik, as humans we learn from stories and it’s often, hearing about a character in a story that we identify with that helps us bring the point home. You’re taking this to a whole new level, man.

Erik Nielsen:
Thank you. That’s the idea, that’s the idea. You know, once you see someone going through what you’re going through, in fact, we have a really good example, a woman named Sophie who talks about OCD and it’s actually contamination OCD, and she’s worried about certain clothing getting bacteria into her nose, right? It’s a fascinating story in fact, she gets into her cat and how she modeled behavior after her cat. I encourage everybody to take a look at it.

Saul Marquez:
Can we add a link for the listeners in the show notes?

Erik Nielsen:
Absolutely.

Saul Marquez:
That, that’s available?

Erik Nielsen:
You just.

Saul Marquez:
Click on it and see it.

Erik Nielsen:
Mmhmm. Yeah. It’s one of our more popular pieces, actually.

Saul Marquez:
So check out the show notes on this one, because you’re gonna want to see it.

Erik Nielsen:
Yes, absolutely. We’ll get you a link for sure. And we’re also, we’re making available a special promotion I can talk about in the end, but you can get an all-access pass to TAG. Yeah. Yeah. So we’ll put that in there as well at a deeply discounted rate. Yeah.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. Thank you.

Erik Nielsen:
Yeah.

Saul Marquez:
That’s kind of you.

Erik Nielsen:
Yeah, for sure. So, yeah, that’s just it. You know, you, you might not think anybody else goes through OCD like you do, and then you watch Sophie, and you realize, wait a minute, I’m not alone, and holy smokes, she’s, that same trigger, I share. So, and the clinician gets into that, here’s what you can do about it, so it’s.

Saul Marquez:
Wow, that’s powerful. Erik, I read this book, this reminds me, it’s called The Book of Joy.

Erik Nielsen:
Mmhmm. I’m familiar with that.

Saul Marquez:
The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

Erik Nielsen:
Yep.

Saul Marquez:
And one of the things that they said is that one of the first steps to getting out of a rut is understanding, like it’s compassion. And compassion is basically knowing that somebody else, you’re not alone, that somebody else shares in your struggle, and what you’re doing here is doing that, right? Like, wow, I’m, like I’m thinking I watch a video, I’m not alone.

Erik Nielsen:
Right, right. Exactly. You know, it’s, it’s interesting too, we’ve seen caregivers gravitate to the platform, right? And we often forget about that. So there’s a person that’s struggling, yes, but the caregiver is often left very much in the lurch, struggling without any resources. So we’ve seen folks come on and say, okay, you know, my son is going through depression, here I see people going through depression, same age as my son, same issues as my son, here’s what the therapist is saying. So they’re able to encourage and then also get the son on the platform. But they’ve got a tool there to just like they’d be able to sit in therapy and watch now be able to convey that to the person, their loved one, so.

Saul Marquez:
That’s really cool. I’m glad you mentioned that. So if there’s any clinicians listening to this today, are you looking for additional help there?

Erik Nielsen:
We are, yeah, we always have the feelers out. If you are a clinician, our platform, we only accept advanced degrees, …. or PhD, you know, clinical. But yeah, for sure, some to the site. There’s a, again we’ll put another link on there as to where you can apply.

Saul Marquez:
Beautiful.

Erik Nielsen:
But we get great people in all the time.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, what an opportunity. We talk about the quadruple aim, one of them being how do we continue to empower our clinicians, their well-being? And Erik, you called it out, right? I mean, like they’re looking for new, fresh things. They’re tired of typing stuff into an EMR, they’re tired of being in the exam room the whole time.

Erik Nielsen:
You’re right. Well, the other kind of sad statistic in the industry is that that audience, that group of people, clinicians, doctors, struggle tremendously and really don’t feel like they can get the care that they need because they don’t want to jeopardize their license. The industry is really working hard on that. I think we are going to come out with content that serves that base as well, but that is ironically one of the most underserved communities when it comes to mental health.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. I love that. Okay, we have to address this. How much does it cost?

Erik Nielsen:
Well, that is the beauty. So therapy can run 200, 250 an hour, on TAG, you can get a package around a particular condition, anxiety, depression, you name it, for under $5 dollars, for $4.99, and it’s unlimited viewing.

Saul Marquez:
Okay, so 4 dollars and 99 cents for unlimited access?

Erik Nielsen:
Yep.

Saul Marquez:
For a particular condition.

Erik Nielsen:
That’s right, that’s right.

Saul Marquez:
It’s freaking insane.

Erik Nielsen:
Hours of content. The, what we like to say is for under $100, you can get well over 100 coping skills.

Saul Marquez:
Wow.

Erik Nielsen:
So the whole idea, you know, affordability and accessibility is a real issuem, kind of plagues the industry. You have, in the medical field, 80% of providers that accept insurance. It’s the opposite, in the behavioral health field, you have 20% of providers that accept insurance. So you’ve got 100 plus million people in just the US who raised their hand, say they have a need but they just can’t afford it. So we’re aiming to help solve that problem.

Saul Marquez:
Unreal, unreal. Where do you where do people go visit you just in case they’re curious right now? I mean, we’re not ending this now, but I’m just like, like you’re probably like, holy smokes, are you kidding me? Where do people go?

Erik Nielsen:
They go to watchTag.TV, like television. So it’s W A T C H T A G.TV.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Love it.

Erik Nielsen:
In fact, we have live agents, chat live agents that are on the site that can help you get to what you need, navigate you through, and then for your listeners as well can get you to the all-access pass.

Saul Marquez:
Beautiful. So if it is for you or if it’s for your people, if you lead an organization, or if it’s for the people that you say you manage their benefits, like just think about this as an opportunity to add value in a huge way. What’s been one of the biggest setbacks you’ve dealt with, Erik, and what’s been a key learning out of that?

Erik Nielsen:
Absolutely. So, you know, oddly enough, since we started up last year, the pandemic, you know, we launched last year, we started up a couple of years before that. But the pandemic caused a weird issue, it brought the economy to a standstill and made investors nervous. And as a startup, you know that capital is the lifeblood of the company. So we were in real shaky ground there for quite a while. But, you know, the learning is you just plug forward. You know, things are never going to stay the same, they’re always going to, eventually, improve, so we just kept our head down. But from our business and our strategy, one of the biggest challenges has been, you know, and we continue to have an education issue. The market is full of telehealth, right? So one-on-one therapy, and so we get confused with that a lot. You know, people come to the site, in fact, through user testing we’ve done people come to the site, they see the team bios and they go, okay, well, here are all therapists, so let’s go. And when you have something new like this, it really is all about the education. It’s about, here’s exactly what we are, here’s the unique proposition that we have. and, you know, saying that in 6 seconds.

Saul Marquez:
That is the challenge.

Erik Nielsen:
That’s the challenge.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, for sure. So it’s worth clarifying, folks, when you go to watchTAG.TV, it is not telehealth.

Erik Nielsen:
That’s right. It is not one-on-one therapy, nope.

Saul Marquez:
What you will see is, is a person sharing their, their challenges and then a clinician layering in, asynchronously, so that you could learn like you do through stories, and it’s powerful. It’s just powerful. Well, I love it. What are you most excited about today, Erik?

Erik Nielsen:
You know, I’m excited, number one, to get the word out. And I thank you for that, I really appreciate being here. It’s a duty. You know, and not to kind of close out here on a sad stat, but really what we get most excited about is helping the vulnerable population. So I don’t know if you know this, your listeners might not know this, but outside of plain old accidents, suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 34. It’s a huge crisis and it’s only getting worse. And so what excites us every day, what gets us up every day is going right after that statistic and trying to eliminate it.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. Well, you know what? That, that stat’s definitely unacceptable, and I love that we’re here talking about this today, Erik, because it’s, it’s, it’s a must. So even if you can’t, even, even if you personally don’t see use, share this, you know, for, press forward on this podcast, text it to somebody, send it send it to them via LinkedIn. You know, Snapchat it to somebody. It’s not my thing, but if it’s your thing, get it to them. Because what we’re doing here, Erik’s doing here is, is creating a shift in the, in the access to these types of platforms so that people don’t have to go through what those stats he shared go through. So, so give us a closing thought here, man. I mean, like, what do people need to be thinking about? And maybe you said there’s an offer here for folks that’s listening to this.

Erik Nielsen:
Yeah, well, I would encourage everybody to come take a look at the site, very low cost to try. So it’s watchTAG, W A T C H T A G.TV. And for your listeners, if you head over to our all-access pass, it is just $12.99, so under 13 bucks and you get access to all of the coping skills that we feature. So definitely take a look at that. And you know, the way to think about it is what if you could see the advice a leading clinician would give someone who is struggling with the same issues you’re struggling with? That’s our premise. So I’d love you to come come check it out.

Saul Marquez:
Thank you so much, Erik. Folks, take advantage of the work that this man is doing to bring incredible hope and resources to the people that need it, including yourself and myself. Take advantage of that, that’s watchTAG.TV, make sure you check that out. And in the show notes, several links that will offer major value to you and also the people you love and lead. Erik, appreciate everything you do, my man.

Erik Nielsen:
Saul, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure!

Sonix is the world’s most advanced automated transcription, translation, and subtitling platform. Fast, accurate, and affordable.

Automatically convert your mp3 files to text (txt file), Microsoft Word (docx file), and SubRip Subtitle (srt file) in minutes.

Sonix has many features that you’d love including automated subtitles, automated translation, automated transcription, world-class support, and easily transcribe your Zoom meetings. Try Sonix for free today.

 

Things You’ll Learn

  • You are not alone in your mental health journey.
  • There are common triggers among people for specific situations and mental health illnesses. 
  • In the behavioral care field, very few professionals accept insurance. 
  • Advice given by mental health professionals to other people may work for you too. 
  • Affordable mental health care is an issue that watchTAG wants to solve. 

Resources