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Activate2018: Key Themes and Highlights

Activate2018 was mPulse Mobile’s second annual industry event, bringing healthcare leaders together to discuss the leading strategies and mobile programs that drive healthy behavior change. Throughout healthcare, there is a lot of buzz around conversational AI, chatbots and their role in consumer activation. Activate2018 showcased real-word examples of conversational AI programs, the data and technology that drives them, and most importantly, how they can be leveraged to drive healthy behavior change across a broad range of health challenges.


The importance of data was a core theme that permeated every session. In his Keynote session, Aneesh Chopra, the first Chief Technology Officer of the Unites States and President of Care Journey, discussed open data sharing as a requirement for patient activation.  Open data standards have empowered consumers in other industries, particularly finance with Intuit API-based interoperability standards. The equivalent approach for healthcare is needed, and with recent moves by regulators (CMS’ Blue Button initiative) and significant moves by industry players (Apple Health Records adopting FIHR standards), the technical change will happen. But he stressed there will need to be a cultural change, too. Technical capability is not enough alone to produce health outcome results. Health organizations must empower consumers to utilize their health data in a way that realizes potential, and mobile solutions that activate consumers in this area will be key to accelerating change across broad sections of the population.


During the panel “Activation in Action: Stories of Successful Behavior Change,” Kaiser Permanente and Home State Health both presented on their mobile programs that use mPulse’s Activation Intelligence product. Both programs, which are ongoing, rely on data-driven tailoring to deliver conversations that are meaningful to each individual. Kaiser Permanente improved rates of blood glucose control in diabetic patients, and Home State demonstrated the ability to engage hard to reach populations and increase attendance at key preventive health visits.

Both speakers addressed the need to harness both source system data and consumer generated data to tailor conversations.. Dr. William Woo, Assistant Chief, Family Medicine & Diabetes Champion, Kaiser Permanente, spoke to the power of mobile engagement to uncover key insights from the consumer such as barriers and health beliefs. Only by understanding these key psychographic factors can you effectively tailor programs to the individual.


Cambia Health Solutions, Healogics, Healthx and Trusted Health Plan discussed the programs they have launched in the last year during the panel, “The Milestones of Implementing Mobile Health Engagement Solutions.”  In each case, the companies started their programs by focusing on a single use-case. After demonstrating results and the impact of interactive text messages, there was broad interest across different departments in their organizations to launch additional programs. Having internal champions, demonstrating results and the importance of governance to ensure programs remain compliant were additional themes from the panelists.


Empathy is another key factor influencing consumer experience, particularly as more healthcare companies are delivering sophisticated conversational AI programs. Empathy is the ability to engage and react with consumers in a way that is natural, demonstrates understanding and adapts to the consumer . A powerful illustration of this concept was highlighted in mPulse Mobile Co-Founder and CEO, Chris Nicholson’s keynote, when he talked about emojis. Emojis are an important way that consumers express themselves. In many cases, use of emojis reflects consumer adoption to texting with their healthcare organization.

mPulse has received hundreds of thousands of messages that contain emojis. In fact, some messages only contain emojis. Surprisingly, the 60-70 year old segment is the biggest user. Having the technical capability to correctly interpret and react to emojis is important for healthcare organizations to engage in an empathetic way, which in turn drives activation.


An important concept demonstrated at the event was the power of asking questions. Direct questions to consumers through text messages are, in many cases, the only way healthcare organizations can uncover key insights and data outside of direct conversations between consumers and care staff.

The technological advances in conversational AI have created a wealth of opportunity in this area. Take consumer preferences around message frequency as one example. Commonly, healthcare organizations have message frequency rules that apply across all consumers segments, with frequency often set low due to fear of over messaging. When consumers are asked what frequency of messages they would like, there is a broad spectrum of preferences and the frequency is almost always much higher than companies expect. By not asking this question, companies are not meeting the needs of their consumers, and they are not taking advantage of valuable opportunities to engage their populations.

Message frequency is a simple concept, but AI allows much more complex insights to be gathered such as psychographic factors, goal setting and consumer reported outcomes. The data is so rich that the challenge becomes how to take full advantage of it. The power of asking questions was addressed by mPulse’s Chief technology Officer, Ram Prayaga. In his technology deep dive, he took the attendees through the concept using mPulse’s Activation Intelligence product. Using smoking cessation as an example engagement challenge, he demonstrated how the product uses questions to gather and store key insights on each individual consumer in a dynamic member profile, called the Activation Profile. The Activation Profile is referenced real-time to determine the most appropriate dialogues to deliver to individual consumers to uncover key insights and to drive specific behavioral outcomes.  The Activation Profile is also used to create an Activation Score which quantifies how activated a consumer is, which, when applied to a particular health engagement program, can be used as a predictor of how an individual through to a whole population is likely to behave.

Throughout the event it was apparent how important health activation was for the organizations in attendance. There was broad agreement that their health consumers want tailored and meaningful engagement from their trusted healthcare providers. The Activate2018 conference provided an important environment to dive into these topics, discuss best practices and create a pathway to success for all.

To be notified when we have posted the video recordings of Activate2018 sessions, please click here.

Brendan McClure is the Director, Solutions Marketing at mPulse Mobile. 

mPulse Mobile Recognizes Excellence in the Healthcare Industry with its First Annual Activate Awards

Kaiser Permanente, Docent Health, Healogics, and Ieso Health receive awards recognizing their leadership and results in improving consumer activation.

LOS ANGELES, CA — October 10, 2018 — mPulse Mobile today announced the winners of its first annual Activate Awards, which recognize customers and partners that have most effectively used its Conversational AI solutions to improve consumer activation, improve health outcomes, and lower overall healthcare costs.

Award submissions were evaluated on both qualitative and quantitative results, including innovation, consumer engagement, health outcomes, process improvement, and cost reduction.

2018 Activate Award winners include:

Kaiser Permanente – Best Use of Conversational AI

Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans, sought to empower their Orange County patients with controlled diabetes to make key behavior changes to keep their blood sugar under control. Through an innovative program based on mPulse Mobile’s Activation Intelligence product, Kaiser Permanente provided patients their HbA1c results via text message and engaged in automated and tailored mobile conversations that helped them manage their diabetes. After six months and an average of 21 conversations per patient, the churn rate—where diabetic patients with controlled blood sugar levels become uncontrolled over time—reduced from 24% to 17%.

“We have enjoyed partnering with mPulse Mobile and working with their Activation Intelligence technology,” said Dr. William Woo, Assistant Chief, Family Medicine & Diabetes Champion, Kaiser Permanente Orange County. “Our diabetes solution is helping to make positive behavior changes in our patients, ultimately leading to healthier lives with lower risk of diabetic complications for our Kaiser Permanente members.”

Docent Health: Most Improved Customer Experience

Docent Health, a healthcare experience company that helps organizations embrace and deliver a consumer-centric approach to healthcare, was recognized for its ability to significantly increase the number of engaged patients while simultaneously delivering a better, more personalized care experience. Docent Health has completely integrated mPulse Mobile’s Conversational AI capabilities and Engagement Console into their own patient relationship management technology and services offering. As a result, Docent Health has been able to engage 76% of their patient population via text-message, and by conveniently giving patients the right support at the right time, has achieved an industry-leading 63% click-through rate which is helping to improve patient preparation, decrease operational resources, and improve “likelihood to recommend.”

Healogics – Most Significant Outcome (tie)

Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services with nearly 700 Wound Care Centers, sought to improve patient attendance at appointments. After partnering with mPulse Mobile to engage wound care patients, Healogics saw an 8% improvement in reduced cancellations across the pilot of 23 centers. The centers who used the Engagement Console saw a 26% improvement. The results were so impactful to helping more patients attend appointments for wound care that Healogics has begun expanding to 150 centers in 2018 and plans to implement across the entire Healogics portfolio in 2019.

“Without a doubt, the collaboration between everyone at mPulse and Healogics provided the key to successfully implementing,” said Michael Novotny, Product Manager, Healogics.  “Appointment reminders are just scratching the surface for the future innovation enabled through mPulse that we have on the road map for 2019.”

Ieso Health – Most Significant Outcome (tie)

Ieso Digital Health, a leading provider of clinically validated, secure, one-to-one, online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) programs, sought to improve engagement and self-referrals of a difficult-to-engage Medicaid population with their online therapy service. Within three months of starting text message outreach, 87% of all referrals to Ieso’s program were being driven via mPulse’s Program Adoption solution, nearly tripling their pre-launch goal. In addition, follow-up outreach sent to previously unengaged members yielded 75% of the referrals from that group.

“Access to quality mental healthcare while providing measurable outcomes to many underserved populations is the center of our mission to help eradicate mental illness,” said Sheeba Ibidunni, Account Executive, Ieso Health. “It’s an honor to be recognized for our efforts and the outcomes yielded from the engagement initiatives carried out in partnership with mPulse’s great team.”

Missouri-based Managed Care Organization: Most Innovative Solution

A Missouri managed care organization engaged a large and difficult-to-reach Medicaid population to improve awareness and utilization of plan services and benefits. With mPulse Mobile’s Activation Intelligence product, they achieved up to an 11.1 percentage point increase in Well-Child visits.

“Every organization that serves the healthcare needs of individuals recognizes the value of engaging and activating their patients, members and consumers to improve health outcomes and lower overall healthcare costs,” said Chris Nicholson, co-Founder and CEO, mPulse Mobile. “Today, mPulse Mobile is proud to recognize those innovative companies who have achieved excellence in consumer activation.”

Activate Award winners were recognized at an awards ceremony at the Activate2018 conference in Marina del Rey on September 27th. The annual conference brings together leaders in healthcare to learn, share, and discuss the leading strategies to drive healthy behavior change.