I had an interesting chat with Stan Nowak, CEO of Silverlink. Being a mere dumb blogger I’d never actually heard of Silverlink, but they are going great guns. They have 80 people, they’re growing at 80% run rate and they raised $14m in VC about a year ago. Their business is making automated phone calls for health plans and PBMs. And these aren’t your ordinary automated calls. They’re recorded by professional voice types, they have multiple scripts that people can use a “Press 1 to hear again, press 2 to learn more about this disease, 3 to get to a nurse” approach to navigate around, and they can record data back. They’ve started in mostly informational type calls, e.g. PBMs use them to remind people to refill prescriptions. Then they moved on to helping Part D recipients understand their choices. They now do HRAs on the phone, and now they’re putting a package together for full disease management—starting with diabetes—including communicating Healthwise material over the phone.
As you might expect they claim a 5 to 1 cost advantage over having humans make the same calls, and they believe that they’re not eliminating outbound calling staff, but rather both extending the reach of DM to the at risk population (who the call center nurses don’t have time to call) and minimizing their work. (Stan said that is was surprising how many companies have nurses calling wrong numbers!). They claim really high response rates (up to 80% depending on the type of call).
I’ll have a longer conversation with Stan on THCB soon, but the automated outbound calling play is very interesting—given that lots of people still don’t use the web.