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.
Bill Russell: 00:00 welcome to this week in help it events where we amplify great ideas with interviews from the floor. My name is bill Russell, recovering healthcare CIO and creator of this week in health it. A set of podcasts and videos dedicated to developing the next generation of health leaders. We want to thank our founding channel sponsors who make this content possible health lyrics and VMware. If you want to 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 really like and I just want it to succeed. Behavioral health at scale is an extremely challenging problem and something that the industry, 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.
Bill Russell: 01:09 All right. Here we are with another interview from the health conference health in Vegas, H L T. H. and one of the things I’m doing here is I’m walking around to the Booths 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 platform for behavoral health. Thanks for joining us. I appreciate it. Thank you. Appreciate it. And um, so tell us a little bit about ginger.
Russell Glass: 01:40 Yeah. So ginger, we’re trying to solve for the supply demand in balance in the behavioral health space. You know, there are far more people today who have behavioral health conditions and think that 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, seven within 60 seconds that can connect with danger and get access.
Bill Russell: 02:04 Yeah. So, uh, so behavioral health at scale. Um, and Dana was on a panel yesterday. Your chief clinical officer, she shared a story of, uh, a woman who was in a restroom crying, but you saw 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. So it’s not just advertising. I mean, you have the ability to get people in front of somebody they can talk to very quickly.
Russell Glass: 02:38 Absolutely. And we do it because one, we feel behavioral health is the kind of thing that can’t wait. You want people to get access earlier, any 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 want to wait five weeks to see somebody you want to help right now. So we want to make sure we’re there to provide that so people don’t get sicker and sicker and then have much more acute needs that the system can’t handle.
Russell Glass: 03:06 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?
Russell Glass: 03:18 Sure. I download our app and in the first experience you have and you start chatting with a behavioral health coats. So then a minute you’re chatting with a live coats and those coaches are doing a intake. So it’s conversational. We don’t again believe you should have to fill out a form. Uh, we just want to start chatting with you and understanding your issue. We do a conversational, we call PHQ GAD to understand just how serious is this. if it’s really serious, we’ll have escalation. Uh, and we can bring in therapists and psychiatrists or right here in 50 States. Uh, we provide care, our platforms available in 19 countries. Um, but ultimately we’re going to have the right level of care depending on your need, not more care than you need and that less than you need which again is a problem, the system.
Bill Russell: 04:09 I love that. So, um, the other thing is I was a 400,000 people on the platform already. We have 400,000 covered lives covered lives. She’s amazing. But uh, I read some of your, uh, some of your stories. So for uh, Pinterest. Yeah, I better not get these wrong. Um, I think you have another one over there as well.
Russell Glass: 04:29 We share the Buzzfeed case studies
Bill Russell: 04:31 Buzzfeed and uh, the engagement rates were really high. I mean, so it also is taking away the stigma of going to behavioral health.
Russell Glass: 04:43 So I mean, again, there are a number of issues that are concerning in the behavioral health space. One is it, 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 with a system that is not designed to support anybody that doesn’t have a diagnosis. We want people to come in at a much earlier stage in their behavioral health life cycle and get access to emotional 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 there’s that stigma to show up and people can see that you’re going to start chatting just like you’re doing it with a friend. Right?
Bill Russell: 05:33 Yeah, it’s, yeah. So I’m not walking into an eye. So we had a, uh, a weight loss thing at our employer. Yeah. And I, I did it. I needed it. Every time I went in, I was like, man, it’s in the employee. I’ve been walking through this, these C a cubicles. They all know I’m trying to lose weight. It’s like they’re all like, yeah, you should keep going. But, but there isn’t, I didn’t feel good. Um, the, uh, so, uh, direct to employer is a, is the model. And uh, I would assume that I would, again, I don’t know if, assuming it’s 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?
Russell Glass: 06:21 100%. You know, you’re touching on a very interesting, almost paradox today, which is we have more and more people with anxiety, depression, suicidality. We have fewer and fewer providers that are getting into this space. So the problem is actually getting worse in a system that can’t handle the current level of need. 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 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. 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, he is not getting them access to care. It’s taking weeks, months to get to see a provider. They want access and they want to know because their employees, if they’re not well, if they’re not showing up for work or not delivering what they need to deliver.
Bill Russell: 07:34 And the wall street journal had another one of the articles this week that, uh, suicides all time high. Once again.
Russell Glass: 07:42 Scary. It’s a scary time out there. Uh, so, you know, our, our mission is a world where mental health has never opted from. The idea there is how do we create a sustainable, scalable way to deliver the meet the supply you need while, uh, uh, through, uh, changing that mindset around mental health for everybody. It’s not just for, you know, the people that diabetes.
Bill Russell: 08:08 So it’d be remissed this week in health it all that to you if I didn’t talk about your EHR or an analytics strategy. So you were building your own EHR, um, talk to us a little bit about that.
Russell Glass: 08:18 Yeah. So if you think about what ginger does, um, or providing realtime care, we are bringing therapists and psychiatrists under the care team when needed. We’re measuring everything along the way from, you know, the five star rating of how every session went to the PHQ 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 want to be able to innovate on that over time and continue to, to do things differently. So we, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an investment, but we thought in order to provide the best care scalably that it was worthwhile.
Bill Russell: 09:00 and analytics doesn’t throw off analytics that’s going to really change the game potentially in behavioral health.
Russell Glass: 09:05 I completely, I mean, thinking about this, just as a simple example as a coach is chatting with our members.
Russell Glass: 09:12 We’re taking natural language processing. We’re extracting, uh, information labeling. So diagnoses, pass 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 times what we call smart answers. So there’s like inG now 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 you can’t do. And it’s traditional standard of care.
Bill Russell: 10:00 As we get more used to talking to smart speakers and personal assistants when we start. Will that be the frontline for potentially that again or when people want to see something?
Russell Glass: 10:09 Yeah, it’s a good question. I think we’ll always have a person in the loop, but there are points in a conversation that I think there will be more and more automation as we have confidence interval as they 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, but it might just be a gingerly as a question for you, the coach follows up with a real interaction, so you want to make sure it feels real and authentic, but certainly there are opportunities to automate over time. Well, thank you. Appreciate your time. Thanks. Appreciate it.
Bill Russell: 11:01 I hope you’ve enjoyed the conversation. If you’d like to recommend a guest or someone to be on the show, you can do that from our homepage, uh, recommended guesses 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 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 to take a look at our newly redesigned guest page, I think you’ll find it a fantastic, I love the way you can navigate through the content. Special thanks again to our sponsors, VM-ware and health lyrics for choosing to invest in developing the next generation of health leaders. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now.