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5 Key Takeaways from Speaking at Rise National

mPulse Mobile’s CEO, Chris Nicholson, spoke alongside Rex Wallace at RISE national on the Engaging Hard-To-Reach Members to Drive Action Around Quality and Risk speaking session. Chris and Rex explored how to define hard to reach Medicare members, the importance of trust in engagement, some proven strategies and results, and how the new weight on Star Measures will impact how plans think about these populations.

Here are our 5 key takeaways:  


Members who do not engage or act after multiple outreach attempts tend to face several factors that make building a connection more difficult. Sometimes the issue is a matter of access to the content or channel. Language or cultural barriers can severely limit engagement with English-only outreach, and members who rely solely on smartphones for internet access can be much harder to reach via email and web portals. Our research shows that lower engagement tends to correlate with higher impact from Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). That impact can take many forms, from housing insecurity which causes mail to be delivered to old addresses, to lower overall health literacy that makes one-size-fits-all reminders to close care gaps less meaningfulBut the area that Chris and Rex explored the most was the members who simply did not trust their plan 


Data from Oliver Wyman suggests that trust is vital when members consider taking action on their health. A 2017 study that Chris and Rex discussed in the session shows that consumers are just as likely to consult with friends and family on whether to seek medical care as they are to ask a provider. And they were less than half as likely to check with their health plan. The difference is the level of trust and strength of relationship. Plans have an opportunity to build trust in their outreach by making it more conversational and tailored to the member.  


 Asking members questions – Why haven’t you visited the doctor? Why didn’t you refill your prescription last month? – and listening to their responses creates a twofold impact: You build trust by letting the member guide the conversation, while also uncovering barriers to action. Members who identify barriers feel heard and can be connected to plan resources to overcome them like ridesharing, appointment scheduling assistance, or health literacy-building content. And gathering barrier data can give vital insight to your quality improvement strategy.  


Rex and Chris dove in on how to define and measure trust in a member’s relationship to the plan. They used a four-part definition of trust from the American Psychological Association to explore how plans can measure something so qualitativeFirst, trust is based on past experiences and prior interactions, so plans should take steps to treat engagement as a long-term relationship rather than a series of campaigns and monitor engagement rates over time and across touchpoints. Second, trusted partners are seen as reliable, dependable, and concerned, which makes analyzing the sentiment of member responses to outreach a possible proxy for measuring how members view their plan. Third, trusting parties disclose information to each other and take on risk by relying on the other. This is where measuring and analyzing member responses to questions that ask for them to disclose things like barriers, SDOH impact, or other challenges can help plans understand the level of trust members place in them. Finally trust means confidence and security in the caring responses of a partner – which means members lose trust in plans that ask questions but don’t seem to listen or act on answers. Chris noted that when plans ask a member if transportation is a challenge but don’t correctly understand their answer (or don’t provide a remedy if they say yes), they damage the relationship they were trying to strengthen. 


Rex noted how the major changes from CMS to emphasize Member Experience and Complaints measures in formulating overall plan Star Ratings are a game changer for MA plans’ engagement strategies. These changes make the importance of each member’s relationship with their plan all the more critical to understand and improve. Previously, outreach focused on driving specific member actions to complete screenings, refill prescriptions or control a chronic condition. CAHPS measures making up over 50% of the 2023 Star Ratings measurement weights will mean that outreach should shift to measuring member experience and coordinating interventions based on their responses. Rex reminded the audience that one of the most important factors in member satisfaction and experience is what happens during provider encounters, which has traditionally been a blind spot for most plans. Chris and Rex said targeted and two-way outreach to gain insight about those blind spots is a great first step to incorporating the new CMS rule into engagement strategies.  

The Importance of Tailored Telehealth Engagement for Low-Income Populations

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mPulse and our customers have placed a major focus on delivering programs geared toward vulnerable, hard-to-reach and culturally diverse populations. We have been encouraged by the results so far. Early analysis of 2,500,000 messages across multiple mPulse customers sent to approximately 319,000 Medicaid plan members in Cook County, Illinois (primarily the greater Chicago area), showed individuals who had greater SDOH barriers were actually more likely to engage with our COVID-19 programs than those with lower SDOH barriers. There are several factors that contributed to this reversal in normal engagement levels. Lower income populations were disproportionally infected with COVID-19 cases, which created urgency for engaging with COVID-19 content. Outreach that provided information about free resources and subsidies were most valuable to members who were more adversely impacted by SDOH. And lastly, content was tailored to culturally diverse populations. Program content was developed in multiple languages, and our customers leveraged our mobile-optimized fotonovela outreach. Every healthcare organization understands the importance of engaging hard-to-reach populations, and as we look to the ‘new normal’ post-COVID, there are important learnings from this period that should be a part of every engagement strategy.

One of the more prominent aspects of the new normal will be the accelerated and important role of telehealth in care delivery. The pandemic has forced rapid adoption by providers, plans, and patients. This is a positive step for many reasons: more cost-efficient delivery of care, and much improved access and convenience for healthcare consumers.  However, low income populations have some of the lowest levels of adoption of telehealth services, so as healthcare adapts and new innovative care deliver approaches are developed, we must ensure the hard-to-reach are included in the shift to virtual care, and apply proven strategies for engaging these populations on topics that are important to their health.

Telehealth has been sold as an equalizer for disadvantaged and rural communities, but there are challenges with this. Safety net providers have been slower to adopt telehealth in comparison to larger health systems. Rural and community health clinics lack the funding to keep abreast with the latest technology, but also manage populations who lack internet coverage and/or are at poverty levels that prevent them from accessing the technology needed to connect virtually. 2019 data suggests only 50% of low-income households have home broadband, and over 30% of these households are smartphone-reliant for internet.

The low adoption of stable home internet and desktop/laptop computers in these populations means government-subsidized mobile phone programs must include smartphones with capabilities to support virtual visits. The data needed to support these visits must be included in the phone’s data plan, so patients are forced to decide whether to use their own mobile plan data to have a health consultation or connect with their friends through social media. And the telehealth platform itself must be a high-quality experience comparable to leading healthcare providers for any chance of success.

But providing the technology is not enough. As with almost all health services and benefits, awareness and education are critical for lasting adoption. Health plans and providers must invest in telehealth engagement, so that their members and patients know the service exists, how and when to access it, and provide support so they become fluent with the technology. All these potential barriers are accentuated with lower-income and culturally-diverse populations. But those populations must be areas of significant investment in engagement and education, if there is any chance of healthy equity in the new normal.

Key Takeaways from Last Week’s Webinar on Improving Member Engagement

The Strategic Solution Network hosted mPulse Mobile and Martin’s Point Healthcare to discuss Improving Member Communication on Tuesday June 9, 2020 as part of the 11th Medicare Stars, HEDIS, Quality and Risk virtual event. Josh Edwards, Stars Program Manager at MartinPoint Healthcare, discussed best practices, while mPulse’s Solution Marketing Manager Jim Burke covered how data can change the conversation with the senior population and transform member engagementHere are our biggest learnings from the event: 

1. Meet Seniors Where They Are 

Jim talked about how 90% of seniors who have phones (which is also around 90%) text regularly, while only 22% of that same audience are looking for new apps. App adoption and use among seniors is also declining slightly, according to the AARP. Member communication is difficult, so plans should not make it harder by asking members to engage in channels that they don’t normally use. mPulse has found mobile channels, especially conversational SMS, to be the best way to reach the Medicare population at scale. These members, when compared to other groups that mPulse engages, truly embrace the channel: they tend to prefer longer multi-turn conversations, view follow-up reminders as caring rather than annoying, and use emojis at a higher rate than any other age group.  

2. Let the Data Drive  

Getting a clear view of your population through data was a major theme for both presentations. Leveraging data from outreach itself gives you the tools to drive behavioral actionable outcomes. Jim noted that when outreach is conversational, the information flows two ways: the member is connected to resources and servicesand the plan gains insights on member experience and barriers stopping members from taking key actions. Those insights can be difficult to gather without automated conversations and are some of the most actionable available to quality improvement teams. 

3. Reimagine the Communication Cycle  

Josh talked about the way rethinking the communication cycle can ease processes and improve engagement in the long term. He referenced his favorite process from what he calls the Pink Book” or Making Healthcare Communication Programs Work from the National Cancer Institute ( )  as a great tool that has helped him and his teamPutting a process in place, whether from the pink book” or elsewhere, keeps quality teams thinking strategically about member communication. 

It is equally important to make sure vendors are on the same page with any communication strategy. The last thing your organization wants to do is muddle the message you are trying to send members because your vendors have a different idea of what the message is or was in the first place. Josh emphasized the need to coordinate across partners and include them in the big picture of your communication process. 

4. SDOand Your Audience  

Both Jim and Josh emphasized the importance of putting your members in context. Who are you trying to reach and what type of barriers do they face to complete a key screening or refill a prescription? Uncovering barriers and tailoring content to fit your members’ challenges should be a core part of any quality improvement and member engagement strategy. SDOH effects all aspects of healthcare, including member communicationJim showed how mPulse is using SDOH Indexing before starting outreach to identify likely impact of SDOH factors on engagement. This helps adapt strategies to fit the population and anticipate engagement challenges earlier. 

5. Language Matters  

It may seem like a basic reminder, but many plans still struggle to meet member preferences around language. The very first question from the audience was about serving populations that need outreach in more than just English. Josh from Martin’s Point said the ability for outreach vendors to switch between languages is keyJim agreed that any automated system must be able to capture the preferred language both prior to sending out any communication and as members identify a preference during outreach. He also noted that content should be created within the native language when possible, as opposed to a direct translation from English.

Top 5 Learnings From World Congress’ Medicaid Managed Care Conference

Not making a decision is a decision itself. Kicking off the conference, Glenn Pomerantz from Gateway Health Plan and chairperson of the World Congress Medicaid Managed Care Conference, spoke of the challenges facing Medicaid and plans that continue with the status quo, and the dangers of failing to adapt to a shifting managed care landscape. Instead, bold decisions must be made to affect the change needed to reduce costs, while improving quality and the member experience.

These are my five bold decisions after attending the conference and presenting alongside Jason Thomas, Corporate Director of Special Projects and Facilities at Trusted Health Plan:

1. Focus resources on the biggest drivers of health

I learned that while socio-environmental factors, and the behaviors they drive, account for approximately 60% of factors that impact premature death, only 4% of a health plan’s operational spend focuses on these areas.

2. Create benefits that matter to members

Social isolation has a huge impact on health and many vulnerable and elderly members. Yet despite this, plan products rarely focus benefits on these areas. What would be the impact of providing a service where a home visit was made to take a member out for a neighborhood walk every week? How much more would the member value that over typical plan benefits?

3. Use the communication channels that members use

In response to mPulse’s presentation with Trusted Health Plan that explored conversational text messaging solutions, Glenn Pomerantz of Gateway Health Plan commented, “If we are doing our jobs properly, every plan should be using this channel.”

4. Focus on building relationships with members

In mPulse’s presentation I talked about conversations being the foundation for relationships. Through the use of conversational AI, Medicaid plans can now have meaningful conversations with their members at scale. Using this approach, plans can ask questions to understand the needs and challenges of their members and provide tailored support that provide them with the experience and support they value most.

5. Bridge digital and community

Trusted Health Plan built its success around a brick & mortar wellness strategy. Yet they realized they needed to do more to improve member engagement. Jason Thomas highlighted how they were able to use text messaging to engage members on key areas such as, redetermination and Wellchild visits. They also used messaging to connect members to their community. Trusted Health Plan used text messages to promote and drive attendance at important local events that created a powerful bridge between their digital engagement and community-focused strategies.

To schedule a meeting or demo, please email

mPulse Mobile Celebrates Innovation and Health Outcomes with Second Annual Activate Awards

Magellan Rx Management, Kaiser Permanente, Byram Healthcare and others receive awards recognizing their innovation and results in improving health consumer activation.

LOS ANGELES, CA – November 20, 2019

mPulse Mobile announces winners of the Activate Awards each fall during its annual Activate conference. The Activate Awards recognize customers and partners that have driven impressive, measurable results like improved consumer health outcomes through consumer activation and lowering overall healthcare costs.

Winners of the Activate Awards are on the forefront of healthcare consumer engagement, leveraging Conversational AI and mobile messaging solutions to better engage with their consumers and activate them in their health. Award submissions were evaluated on both qualitative and quantitative results, including innovation, consumer engagement, health outcomes, process improvement, and cost reduction.

2019 Activate Award winners include:

Most Innovative Solution – Magellan Rx Management

Magellan Rx is a next-generation full-service pharmacy benefit manager that has over 40 years of expertise helping customers and members solve complex pharmacy challenges. Recognizing unused opioid medication kept by patients in their households can be diverted to inappropriate use, Magellan launched an Opioid Disposal texting program. The solution connects a digital pain management program to a physical pouch-disposal program. The conversational messaging program provides members with pain management strategies to improve self-efficacy levels and educates patients about the risks of keeping unused opioids in their homes. The program offers disposal pouches and provides reminders and tips to support patients as they use the pouches to dispose of unused opioids in an environmentally friendly manner.

“Magellan is focused on solving some of healthcare’s biggest challenges, and we know leveraging innovative technology is a big key to success in this mission” said Sagar Makanji, Magellan Rx Management’s Vice President of Clinical Strategy and Programs. “Collaborating with mPulse enables us to build-out innovative and impactful clinical programs that focus on the individual, which is the most effective way of driving improved health outcomes.”

Best Use of Conversational AI – Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s largest not for profit health plans, serving 12.3 million members. Kaiser Permanente’s Pharmacy department operates a conversational, text-based Refill Reminder solution to provide an efficient way for members to refill certain chronic medications. 273,356 Refill conversations were sent to 99,217 Medicare Part D patients over 2 years. Overall there was a 35% response rate and of the 307,484 responses only 7.8% were not understood by the Conversational AI (CAI) used in the program. CAI is used effectively to identify and classify barriers that individual patients bring up and connects them to appropriate pharmacy and plan resources. Overall the solution has achieved a 17.4% refill request rate amongst non-adherent members.

Most Significant Outcome – Byram Healthcare

Byram Healthcare is a leading provider of home use medical supplies focused on improved health outcomes and affordability of care for people managing their chronic conditions. Byram wanted to improve the efficiency of its health supply reorder solution by enabling patients to review and reorder their supplies directly in the text channel. Within 12 months of launching the program, 42,218 patients reordered their supplies through interactive text messaging. This represents over 50% of all orders for certain key product areas. With the cost of the program taken into account and the overall gross margin, the successful launch of this program yielded tremendous results, beating all ROI targets for Byram Healthcare.

“Byram is focused on providing the best possible consumer experience. Our partnership with mPulse helps us provide an amazing experience by making it much more convenient for consumers to manage the healthcare products they need, while also creating significant efficiencies for our organization. It’s a win-win,” said Nick Piecora, Chief Information Officer at Byram Healthcare.

Most Improved Consumer Experience – Midwest Medicaid Managed Care Health Plan

The plan was recognized for its Redetermination Solution, which incorporates mobile engagement in coordination with Redetermination Events. Continuity in coverage is key to maintaining continuous access to care, which is particularly important for those with complex medical needs. Limited access to transportation, childcare, and the internet as well as poor literacy skills can keep members from completing the redetermination process in a timely way. Members are engaged about the Redetermination Events though mobile messaging, which drove a significant increase in event attendance.

“It is so exciting to see companies embrace innovative solutions for consumer health activation,” said Chris Nicholson, Co-Founder and CEO of mPulse Mobile. “AI is impacting healthcare at a rapid pace, and Conversational AI is at the forefront. We see companies that leverage intelligent solutions consistently establish deep, meaningful relationships with their consumers, which is the foundation for improving outcomes. We are thrilled to be part of this mission.”

mPulse Mobile Holds Its Third Annual Activate Conference

mPulse Mobile wrapped up its third annual Activate conference last month. Activate2019 was another resounding success at the Marina Del Rey Hotel on October 9th and 10th with over 100 leaders from across the healthcare engagement landscape.

mPulse’s CEO and Co-Founder Chris Nicholson kicked things off with his outlook on how the conversation about healthcare consumer engagement has changed dramatically in just the last few years. The role of Conversational AI in adding capacity and improving access to care took center stage early on, with an insightful keynote address by Kaveh Safavi MD, JD – Senior Managing Director and Head of Global Health Practice at Accenture – that focused on how AI can change the future of healthcare. His talk focused on the practical and actionable ways that automation and scale can (and must) be applied to healthcare to confront some of the major challenges of the present and future.

Attendees then heard from the first of three panels of mPulse Mobile clients driving improved outcomes through innovative mobile solutions. Susan Arcidiacono, Chief Marketing Officer at Inland Empire Health Plan discussed how text message programs extended and enhanced her team’s efforts to close gaps in care, improve member experience, and promote preventative service utilization for a large Medicaid population. Sagar Makanji, the VP of Clinical Programs at Magellan Rx Management, then outlined how the PBM has transformed member engagement to help client plans improve Medicare Part D Star Ratings.

The next panel featured three clinical leaders from Kaiser Permanente – Winston Lai, Innovation Lead, Amy Chateau, Manager of Ambulatory Care, and Kristi Tague, Support Services Supervisor. They discussed how tailored and Conversational AI-enabled messages drove improved screening completion rates for key populations. The team shared specific workflows and best practices they used to improve colorectal cancer screening and pulmonary function test completions in San Diego.

After a lunch on the Marina and a roadmap update from our CTO Ram Prayaga, attendees took part in interactive workshops to develop new applications for Conversational AI in healthcare and engaging with the data that these solutions generate. The final customer panel of the day featured Donna Stanislawski, Director, Quality and Population Outcome at IlliniCare Health, Jacqueline Thong, Senior Director of Product Performance at Docent Health, Erwin Jeong, Pharmacy Clinical Operations Manager at Kaiser Permanente, and Rachel Fournier, Director, Product Management OnTrak Digital at Catasys. The group heard from Donna how IlliniCare manages a wide range of key engagement initiatives with a difficult-to-reach population. Jacqueline explained how Docent Health has embraced the text channel and mPulse’s Engagement Console to provide impactful support to patients during the care journey. Erwin detailed how Kaiser Permanente leverages mPulse’s Social Determinants of Health Index to predict Medicare members’ Medication Adherence rates. And Rachel shared learnings and best practices for deploying innovative solutions to engage large populations about behavioral health.

After Chris Nicholson shared his key takeaways and and announced the winners of our Activate Awards, everyone boarded the historic yacht Zumbrota to cruise Marina Del Rey, celebrating the collaboration and shared insights of the day.

Be sure to look out for information on Activate 2020 in the new year!

Insights from Activate2018: How Data and Conversational AI Drive Behavior Change

Activate2018 was mPulse Mobile’s second industry event focused on leading strategies and mobile programs to drive healthy behavior change. Over 100 attendees from 44 companies attended the event to engage with industry thought leaders and innovative healthcare executives that are leveraging Conversational AI capabilities to drive behavior change across their populations. 

Using Technology to Promote Healthcare Data Accessibility

Aneesh Chopra, former Chief Technology Officer of the United States and President of Care Journey, gave a powerful keynote address focused on how to achieve a lower cost, higher quality healthcare system through technology innovation, open data and consumer activation. He highlighted that success in improving healthcare can only be achieved through consumers taking a more active role in navigating the health delivery system. But to do this they need to be empowered with greater access to their own data to help them make better decisions at each stage of their health journey.

Chopra stressed the importance of developing API-based interop standards similar to those that have proven effective in other industries (such as the banking industry) as a way to drive innovation and more consumer-centric solutions. He used the CMS Blue Button 2.0 initiative as an example, highlighting CMS’s widely expected requirement for Medicare Advantage plans to adopt data release platforms “meet or exceed” the capabilities of Blue Button 2.0 FHIR API by 2020. He also discussed the importance of cultural shifts in addition to technology advancements. Weaving together technical expertise with rich anecdotes, Chopra painted an inspirational view for healthcare’s path forward.

Activation in Action

In a panel of mPulse customers sharing their stories of successful behavior change, Kaiser Permanente and Home State Health presented the results of their Conversational AI programs. They were joined by Rena Brar Prayaga, mPulse’s lead Behavioral Data Scientist, who provided further detail on how the programs were optimized to impact behavior change.

Dr. William Woo, Assistant Chief Family Medicine at Kaiser Permanente, shared how he is using mPulse’s Conversational AI capabilities for his Diabetes Self-Management program to drive healthy behavior change and improve maintenance of A1c control in his diabetic population. Dr. Woo demonstrated the importance of understanding the specific challenges and health needs faced by individuals, and using these insights to tailor the most appropriate dialogues to educate, motivate and drive change. During the Kaiser Permanente program, more than 276,000 dialogues were sent to 11,238 members over a six-month period. Leveraging a broad range of data inputs from Kaiser Permanente’s system information and patient-generated data, these dialogues were dynamically tailored to advance the consumer’s health activation levels. The program achieved a significant improvement in A1c control. Commenting on the results, Dr. Woo spoke to the efficiency of the program and how it freed up his care team’s resources to focus on higher risk segments of his patient population.

Andrew Dietrich, Director of Telehealth Services at Home State Health, walked through the sophisticated health engagement program that he deployed to engage his diverse Medicaid population. Home State Health covers over 250,000 lives, of which 85% are <18 years old, and over 95% are in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Dietrich discussed the need to engage members across a broad range of health topics including care gaps, healthy living, pregnancy, plan services, finding a PCP, redetermination and ED avoidance among many others. Historically, the plan had used mailers and phone outreach to address only the most pressing of these topics. Home State Health partnered with mPulse to develop a library of content dialogues covering all potential health topics and use mPulse’s Conversational AI solution to assign those dialogues to each member based on a dynamic profile of their preferences, health status, previous engagement and Home State Health’s priorities. In addition to delivering over 240,000 dialogues to 17,208 members over a 12-month period, Dietrich highlighted the program’s impact on key quality measures—members that participated in the health engagement program had significantly higher Well-Child and Adolescent Well-Care visit rates.

A recording of the complete panel can be viewed here. 

Technology Overview

Ram Prayaga, mPulse Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer, presented on the direction of mPulse Mobile’s Conversational AI capabilities. He spoke to three key themes: Data, Growth and Empathy.

The importance of data was a consistent theme throughout the event. Driving behavior change requires a deep understanding of individuals’ socioeconomic environment and the psychographic factors that influence their behaviors. Some of these insights are sourced from customer information systems. For example, a zip code yields rich data about Community Need and key Social Determinants of Health factors. However, almost all psychographic factors have to come directly from the consumer. Prayaga spoke to how these complex data points can be sourced directly through conversational interactions.

The second theme, Growth, covered the necessary capabilities to deliver Conversational AI solutions at scale. Obviously, a basic requirement is the ability to handle large volumes of concurrent dialogues. However, Growth also describes mPulse’s expanded solution offering to address additional health challenges, new segments of the population and international languages. As many of mPulse’s solutions leverage Natural Language Understanding (NLU), Growth requires building out new language domains to support new engagement areas and deepening conversational capabilities to have more meaningful dialogues. These capabilities support Prayaga’s third area of focus, Empathy.

Empathy, describes the ability to understand consumers, their health situations and engage with them in a way that provides the support they need. Prayaga highlighted the importance of empathetic solutions, particularly when engaging diverse populations segments. He used the examples of senior populations and how they like to engage, which is very different from millennials. Empathy enables mPulse to engage with these members as individuals in a way that minimizes abrasion and contributes significantly to the consumer experience.

Customer Perspectives on Implementation

In the second customer panel, The Milestones of Implementing Mobile Health Engagement Solutions, leaders from Cambia Health Solutions, Trusted Health Plan, Healogics and Healthx presented on their mobile health engagement programs and the milestones they each experienced over the first 12-18 month period to demonstrate key learnings for the audience. Each speaker walked through how their program was developed to address key engagement challenges, and their unique approach to drive success.

Michael Novotny, Technical Product Manager at Healogics, provided an excellent example of rolling out a major health engagement initiative across multiple sites and how they focused on success to identify best practices, as well as identify program champions. It was key to the success of their implementation, as their operation includes over 800 clinics.

In contrast, Jason Thomas, Director of Corporate Facilities and Special Projects at Trusted Health Plan, focused on identifying their biggest engagement pain points. In their case, a significant proportion of members lost coverage as a result of not completing the necessary redetermination process. Lost coverage impacted members’ ability to get care, and also added significant administrative costs to get the member re-enrolled. The text program drove a significant improvement in redetermination rates. This validated the effectiveness of the text channel, which helped expand programs into other engagement areas.

As a leader in a large complex healthcare organization, Lynn Dusek, Director of Consumer Relationship Marketing at Cambia Health Solutions, talked about the importance of internal alignment. In her role it is critical to coordinate the mobile health engagement strategies across multiple departmental stakeholders. A key milestone for her program was establishing the necessary program governance processes to enable coordination of consumer engagement initiatives from multiple departments.

The final presentation was by Mike Rowe, CTO of Healthx. Their partnership with mPulse focuses on providing mobile solutions that fully integrate with their core portal capabilities to drive true consumer engagement. In his presentation, he stressed the importance of data; both understanding in detail what data is available and leveraging the data in a way that allows micro-segmentation and orchestration best practices for member engagement.

A recording of the complete panel can be viewed here.

Activate Awards

In closing Activate2018, mPulse’s CEO Chris Nicholson announced the winners of the inaugural Activate Awards. Designed to recognize key areas of program impact and innovation, the awards recognized 4 categories to which companies had submitted applications prior to the event.

The winners were:

  • Home State Health: Most Innovative Program
  • Docent Health: Most Improved Consumer Experience
  • Kaiser Permanente: Best Use of Conversational AI
  • Healogics and Ieso Health (joint winners): Most Significant Outcome

The awards demonstrated the impact health activation can have on key health outcomes and how successful programs enable healthcare organizations to achieve key business outcomes. As well as demonstrating leadership in the space, these organizations set the benchmark for some healthy competition at Activate2019.

For details, read the press release.


A key theme of Activate2018 was the importance of data for successful behavior change programs. By using real-life examples of Conversational AI behavior change programs, the event highlighted how both source system data and patient-generated data are integral to the success of solutions. Discussions around these themes clearly established that open data sharing between healthcare organizations and technology companies such as mPulse and engaging consumers in a way that empowers them to share their health needs are fundamental requirements for successful health activation at scale.

Patient activation is critical to improve health outcomes and take costs out of the system. mPulse’s Activate series of events (look out for ActivateX and Activate2019 later this year) is unique in bringing together thought leadership in behavior change approaches and innovative mobile technologies to illustrate how organizations can achieve health activation at scale.

Stay informed about future Activate events.

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.

mGage and mPulse Mobile Partner to Improve Consumer Engagement in Healthcare through RCS Messaging

LOS ANGELES, CA — September 12, 2018 — PRNewswire-iReach — Today at Mobile World Congress Americas, mGage, a Vivial company, and mPulse Mobile, the leader in mobile health engagement, announced a ground-breaking partnership to launch Rich Communication Services (RCS) mobile messaging applications for the healthcare industry. The RCS health supply reorder program, being debuted at GSMA’s Innovation City, is the first of its kind in the healthcare industry.

In this program, consumers will interact directly with the healthcare organization to reorder supplies via RCS messaging. Consumers will receive supply order reminders and can use the rich media interface to browse products, add or remove products, review, and place orders. The application also provides shipment, tracking and delivery details, making the process seamless from start to finish.

A Closer Look at RCS

RCS brings a new level of interactivity to mobile messaging. It combines the ease-of-use of SMS messages with rich media features, such as videos, audio, high-resolution images and GIFs, typically found inside an app. At the heart of RCS is the ability to utilize a full range of rich media to create unique, two-way conversations. This provides consumers the ability to immediately respond and interact without leaving the messaging ecosystem.

“RCS is the future of mobile messaging, and it will change the way businesses interact with their customers,” said Denisse Goldbarg, Global Chief Operating Officer at mGage. “We work tirelessly to bring innovative mobile solutions to the forefront, and we are thrilled that mPulse Mobile will be using our RCS offering to develop and deliver programs that help the healthcare industry build deeper, more personalized connections with consumers.”

How RCS Can Advance Consumer Engagement in Healthcare

Engaging with consumers directly is key to reducing healthcare costs and improving outcomes. Healthcare organizations are leveraging mobile solutions to deepen relationships with patients and consumers by tapping into their most utilized device – their phones.

Leading healthcare organizations have been successful in using SMS to engage with patients given the high adoption and effectiveness of mobile messaging. SMS messaging has proven to be powerful and effective in engaging individuals with tailored and meaningful dialogue that drives healthy behavior change.

“RCS builds on the power of SMS, making it an even more meaningful touchpoint by allowing healthcare organizations to have richer, more dynamic conversations with their consumers,” said Ram Prayaga, Chief Technology Officer at mPulse Mobile. “It enables much deeper experiences that make it more likely that consumers will complete key health-related activities, such as confirming prescription refills, reordering health supplies, being prepped and ready for health visits and adhering to post-visit instructions.”

“Texting changed the way we communicate, and it’s critical we evolve to meet the needs of consumers,” said Todd Parker, Head of Business Development – Carrier Messaging at Google. “Companies like mGage and mPulse Mobile are helping open the doors for businesses to engage in more meaningful, two-way conversations with consumers.”

See RCS in Action

Attendees at the Mobile World Congress Americas can see demonstrations of the mPulse Mobile RCS application at GSMA’s Innovation City. Show attendees are also invited to attend mGage’s panel discussion “The Era of Smart Messaging is Here,” to learn more. The panel will take place on Thursday, September 13 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center located at 1201 South Figueroa Street. Show attendees can reserve space at the panel here.

In addition, show attendees are encouraged to stop by mGage’s booth (Hall West Stand W.1715) for hands-on demonstrations showcasing the many benefits of RCS messaging.

About mGage

mGage is a global mobile engagement provider helping brands create powerful and interactive connections with customers. We partner with enterprises to deliver high volume time-sensitive promotional and transactional messages across key messaging channels including SMS, MMS and RCS. We serve 1,000+ enterprises and are a trusted connection for more than 500 carriers across the globe. Our broad and deep expertise in the ever-changing mobile technology industry makes us sought-after experts, trusted advisors and the go-to partner for innovative companies that look to use mobile to their best competitive advantage. For more information, visit

Contact: Paige Mantel, Phone: 650-450-0425Email:

Media Contact: Richard Manfredi, mGage, 323-309-8968,