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Silverlink – an update

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Several years ago I did some work with Silverlink – speaking at a series of roadshows for their product – and I got an update recently. Silverlink focuses on helping healthcare organizations engage their members more effectively with personalized, multi-channel outreach. Silverlink works with health plans and pharmacy benefit managers to get their members to stick to their medications, stay loyal and have better health outcomes with tools focused on multi channel engagement. In particular they deliver a set of decision management systems focused on member communications decisions and they manage up to about 1M interactions per day for their customers.

As the healthcare model in the US continues to change, with more options for consumers as the Affordable Care Act comes online, there is going to be a tremendous migration of consumers between plans. This is driving healthcare organizations to rethink how they engage with consumers. In particular it is focusing them on individual loyalty not just large group loyalty. Changes in the way Medicare pays (new quality guidelines) are also contributing to a change in mindset as there is a growing focus on successful outcomes – refusing to pay when patients are re-admitted for the same problem for instance or requiring adherence to medications for reimbursement.

Analytics and ongoing champion/challenger testing are critical differentiators for Silverlink, driving personalized interactions based on what works and what does not. Their platform supports test and learn and adaptive analytics to conduct experiments, such as with voice and messaging, and then improve subsequent tranches of messages in a classic adaptive system.

For instance analytic segmentation was used to close gaps in care for minorities by targeting the messaging and even voice used to get folks to come in for colorectal cancer screening. Specific messaging and a male voice, for instance, working far better for certain demographics. Segmentation of patients also helped focus the care of diabetics on specific tests they need to get. By predicting who will get their blood work done, who will get their eyes tested etc. Silverlink allowed the plan to target different patients with different messages that remind them to do the things they are probably not doing rather than just blanket messages that remind everyone to do everything. The analytic work here resulted in 6 distinct segments for which messaging and plans were developed.

Typically Silverlink develops a detailed decision tree that uses known behaviors or information items for a patient to assign them to one of the different segments. These trees may have many branches and get quite complex, ending up with an allocation of each patient to the segment that best matches their behavior. Considerations such as claims made, screening performed, a history of a specific disease and even specific symptoms drive a fine-grained segmentation of patients so that messaging and actions are tailored to them.

Silverlink has some great results from their efforts. A typical result was to drive a campaign from its historical 4% success rate to 9% using segmentation and then to 12% by using their champion/challenger approach to fine tune the strategies used for each segment. The end result, a 200% improvement.

Silverlink’s focus on analytic segmentation, on developing customer-specific messaging for these segments, on using champion/challenger to continually refine and improve results and on actively testing new approaches to see what works and what does not are all Decision Management best practices. In their case applied to communication with health consumers but the principles are broadly applicable anytime you are interacting with a large community.

Silverlink is also working on adding new capabilities to help manage member communication. Currently members in health plans get huge numbers of confusing and overlapping messages as the focus of most plans is overwhelmingly on compliance – what they MUST do –and not on being effective. Silverlink’s new EngageME platform maintains a profile for each member, storing their contact information, communications history and preferences.  This central repository for engagement data management can be accessed and updated across the organization, enabling each communicator to leverage all the available information.. And, of course, many of these messages can be targeted and managed analytically to maximize their effectiveness.

You can get more information on Silverlink here.

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