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Few things are needed more than the ability to talk to someone in a moment of need. Behavioral Health in 60 seconds or less is what Ginger brings to the market. Behavioral health at scale. We sat down with Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger to talk about the industry and the solution. 

Transcript

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 Welcome to this Weekend Health IT Events where we amplify great ideas with interviews from the floor. My name is Bill Russell, recovering Healthcare, CIO, and creator of this Weekend Health. It is set of podcasts and videos dedicated to developing the next generation of health leaders. We wanna thank our founding channel sponsors who make this content possible, health Lyrics and VMware.

If you wanna be a part of our mission to develop health leaders, go to our homepage this week, health.com, and click on sponsorship information. This week we're at the health conference in Las Vegas, and you know, sometimes I come across a solution that I, I, I really like and I just want it to succeed. I.

Behavioral health at scale is an extremely challenging problem and something that the industry, uh, employers, colleges, and universities and the public at large need desperately. Ginger is a company that provides behavioral health coaching in 60 seconds or less to over 400,000 covered lives. I sat down with Russell Glass, the CEO of the company to understand more about the solution.

Have a listen, and I hope you enjoy. All right, here we are with another interview from the Health Conference Health in, uh, Vegas, HLTH. And one of the things I'm doing here is I'm walking around to the booth, uh, and finding the companies that I think are extremely fascinating and interesting, and I love.

Behavioral health in 60 seconds or less. And we're here with Russ Glass, the, uh, CEO of Ginger, which is a, a platform for behavioral health. Thanks for joining us. I appreciate it. Thank you. Appreciate it for everything. And um, so tell us a little bit about Ginger. Yeah. So Ginger. We're trying to solve for the supply demand imbalance in the behavioral health space.

You know, there are far more people today who have behavioral health conditions than can get access to care, and so we're rethinking and redesigning that experience to be able to scale it and get people . As you said, instant access to care 24 7 within 60 seconds that can connect with ginger and get access.

Yeah. So, uh, so behavioral health at scale. Um, and Dana Alt was on a panel yesterday. Yes. You were our Chief Clinical Officer. She shared, uh, a story of a, a, a woman who was in a bath stall crying, but she saw the, the flyer about behavioral health. She actually didn't have the app, but she, she downloaded the app.

And was talking to a behavioral health coach within 60 seconds. Yeah. So it's, it's not just advertising. I mean the, you, you have, uh, the ability to get people in front of somebody they can talk to very quickly. Absolutely. And, and we do it because, one, we feel behavioral health's the kind of thing that can't wait.

Right. You want people to get access earlier in a preventative care way. You want them to. You know, if you're having a panic attack in the middle of the night, you don't wanna wait five weeks to see somebody. Right. You want, you want help right now. So we wanna make sure we're there to provide that so people don't get sicker and sicker and then have much more acute needs, right, that the system can't handle.

So you do it on a telehealth platform, it's an app. Um, and then essentially . I, uh, I, I, I come onto the platform and you distribute the call based on, I mean, how do you, what's the platform look like? Sure. Uh, you download our app and, and the first experience you have is you start chatting with a behavioral health coach.

So within a minute you're chatting with a live coach, and those coaches are doing. Uh, intake. So it's conversational. We don't, again, believe you should have to fill out a form. Uh, we just wanna start chatting with you and understanding your issue. We do a conversational, what we call PHQ GAD two. So understand just how serious is this?

Um, if it's really serious, we'll have escalation. Uh, and we, we can bring in therapists and psychiatrists. We, we provide care in 50 states. Uh, we provide care, our platforms available in 19 countries. Um, but ultimately we're gonna have the right level of care depending on your need. Right? Not more care than you need and not less care than you need, which again, is a problem in the system today.

I love that. So, um, the other thing is for, was a four i, was it 400,000 people on the platform already? We have 400,000 covered lives. Yeah. Covered lives. Yeah. Which is amazing. But, uh, I read some of your, uh. Some of your stories, Sephora, Pinterest. Yep. I better not get these wrong. Um, I think you have another one over there as well.

Uh, buzz, we're showing the Buzz Feed case study as well, Buzzfeed, and, uh, the engagement rate's really high. I mean, so it also is taking away the. The stigma of going to behavioral health? Absolutely. I mean, again, there are a number of issues that are concerning in the behavioral health space. One is that you've got 20% of people with a diagnosis and 70% of those not getting care.

That's a huge problem that we're trying to help. Software, but you also have a whole bunch of people without diagnoses that could use support. But the system today is not designed to support anybody that doesn't have a diagnosis, right? We want people to come in at a much earlier stage in their behavioral health lifecycle and get access to promotional support.

So Ginger is . Easy to just start chatting. You don't have to feel like you're going to a doctor. You don't have to feel like you're, you've got stigma to show up and people can see that you're going. Right. Just start chatting just like you're doing it with a friend, right? Yeah. It's, yeah. So I'm not walking into an I, so we had a, uh, a weight loss thing at our employer.

Yeah. And I, I did it, I needed it and it, but every time I went in, I was like, . Man, it's in the employee. I've been walking through this, these sea of cubicles. They all know I'm trying to lose weight. It's like they're all like, yeah, you should keep going, but Right. But there's a, it didn't feel great. It didn't feel good.

Yeah. Um, yeah, the, uh, so, uh, direct to employer is, uh, is the model and, uh, I would assume that I would. Again, I, I don't know if assuming is right here, but more and more employers are hiring millennials and people who are looking for these kinds of benefits. So, um, are you finding that people are more receptive to the conversation now?

A hundred percent. I, you know, you're touching on a very interesting, almost paradox today, which is we have more and more people with anxiety, depression, suicidality, and we have fewer and fewer providers. That are getting into this space, so the problem's actually getting worse in a system that can't handle the current level of need.

Yeah. Interestingly though, the younger populations, millennials and below, are much more willing and able to raise their hand and say, I need to see someone. So, so the de-stigmatization is working. However, the paradox is that it's actually putting more stress on the system. That can't handle the current level of need.

Yeah, and that's again, one of the reasons that employers are coming to us is they're saying, okay, my current network is not getting people to care. It's taking months for them to see a provider. My EAP is not getting them access to care. It's taking weeks, months to get to see a provider. They want access and they want it now because their employees, if they're not well, if they're

It's not showing up for work. Yeah. Or not delivering what they need to deliver. And the Wall Street Journal had, uh, another one of the articles this week that, uh, suicide's all time high. Yes. Uh, once again, scary. It's a scary time out there. It is. And, uh. So, you know, our, our mission is a world where mental health is never an obstacle.

I mean, that the idea there is how do we create a sustainable, scalable way to deliver the need, the supply you need while, um, uh, sort of changing the, the mindset around mental health, right? It's for everybody. It's not just for, you know, the people with diagnosis. So, I, I'd be remiss this week at l it if I didn't talk about Yeah, your EHR and analytics strategy.

So. You, you're building your own EHR. Yeah. Um, talk to us a little bit about that. Yeah, so if you think about what Ginger does, um, we're providing realtime care. We are bringing therapists and psychiatrists into the care team when needed. We're measuring everything along the way from, you know, the, the five star rating of how every session went to the p HQ and GAD measures.

No EHR out there is doing that, so we decided it's worth the investment to have our own internal tooling, both to provide the best care we can, but also because we wanna be able to innovate on that over time and continue to, to do things differently. So we, we, it's a, it's a, it's a investment, but we thought in order to provide the best care, scalably, that it was worthwhile and analytics.

Does it throw off analytics? That's gonna really change the game, potentially in behavioral health? Completely. I mean, think about this just as a simple example, as a coach is chatting with our members, we're taking natural language processing, we're extracting, uh, information, we're labeling. So diagnoses, past history, uh, PHQ scores, GAD scores, tone of voice.

All of this interesting information, real time. We're correlating that with what we've seen in the past and we're pushing to the coaches decision support. Should this person be escalated, prioritization of their day. Does this person need outreach? Um, real time, what we call smart answers. So just like in Gmail where you might have your sentences completed for you, we're pushing that to coaches to allow them to use that

Uh, to improve care. So there's a whole bunch of automation we can do that we can't do in its traditional standard of care. As we get more used to talking to smart speakers and personal assistants, will we start, will that be the frontline for potentially getting in, or do people want to see something?

Yeah, it's a good question. I think we'll always have a person in the loop. Absolutely. But there are points in a conversation that I think there will. Be more and more automation as we have confidence intervals that go up and up about, hey, this is the right response. And rather than somebody have to wait for a minute for a coach to respond, we'll just send it to them and say, you know, we have this concept called gingerly, which is our AI gingerly says, right?

So you let somebody know that it is . Somebody helping. Right. Um, but it might just be a gingerly has a question for you. The coach follows up with a real interaction, so you wanna make sure it feels real and authentic, but certainly there are opportunities to automate over time. Fantastic. Well thank you.

Appreciate your time. Thanks. Best of luck for having me. Appreciate it. I hope you've enjoyed the conversation. If you would like to recommend a guest or someone to be on the show, you can do that from our homepage. Uh, recommend a guest is about three quarters of the way down on the homepage. Please check that out and don't forget to please come back every Friday for more great interviews with influencers.

And don't forget, every Tuesday we take a look at the news, which is impacting health. It. This show is a production of this week in Health It. For more great content, you can check out our website this week, health.com, or the YouTube channel, which you can get to from our homepage as well. Uh, if you get a chance, take a look at our newly redesigned guest page.

I think you'll find it. Uh, fantastic. I love the way you can, uh, navigate through the content. Special thanks again to our sponsors, VMware and health lyrics for choosing to invest in developing the next generation of health leaders. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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