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Pega VP talks about how Kintsugi partnership will bring groundbreaking mental health screening to millions of patients.

Pegasystem’s healthcare solutions are used by the United States’ top healthcare providers and payers in their customer interactions, service and care. Kintsugi is proud to partner with Pega to integrate its voice-based mental health assessment software onto Pega’s healthcare suite, which will allow it to operate as a layer on top of millions of patient calls.

Kintsugi’s enterprise software KiVA™ (Kintsugi Voice Biomarker API) acts as a “psychiatrist’s ear” on any authorized phone call, screening people for depression and anxiety using just 20 seconds of their voice through cutting-edge AI technology.

Clinicians, call center operators, and service providers can now activate KiVA™ on the same Pega solutions they currently use, allowing them to effortlessly address patients’ mental health appropriately in real time.

We spoke to Dave Irish, Vice President of Sales, Healthcare & Life Sciences and Kelli Bravo, VP, Healthcare and Life Sciences Strategy and Solutions , Healthcare & Life Sciences at Pega about the unprecedented prospects that this partnership offers in the mental health space.

         

Why is the partnership between Pega and Kintsugi such a game changer?

What's unique about Pega in the industry is that we support millions of healthcare calls every day. All of the United States' top ten health plans use Pega Customer Service or the Pega platform. With Kintsugi’s software integrated with the Pega platform, providers and payers will now be able to address mental health on every call on which Pega is used, potentially benefiting millions of Americans. Kintsugi will provide crucial mental health information on calls where Pega is present, which allows for immediate and appropriate action.

Kintsugi’s partnership with Pega enables us to go beyond putting patients into boxes. The lives of two people of the same age and ethnicity can be completely different universes. With Kintsugi detecting mental health issues and Pega providing the context, we can now treat them as full, individual human beings and give them the help they require.

The partnership has already shown more potential than we’d ever imagined.  “We’re really excited to be the first to offer this transformative tool to the world to bring healthcare consumers more direct access to mental health support, without any additional stress on their part,” shares Kelli Bravo, Vice President of Healthcare and Life Sciences Strategy and Solutions at Pegasystems.

How does the partnership allow for a more holistic approach to mental health?

Kintsugi’s software provides one piece of data - a mental health score - and Pega makes that data actionable in real time for its clients. Because Pega’s platform is already accessing health and personal information on a patient by the healthcare provider, the clinician or patient advocate on the call can take into account other factors that may affect the patient’s mental health - such as social determinants (like demographic or economic information) or even recent family trauma or diagnoses. That can inform them as to where the patient’s stress may originate, allowing the healthcare provider to personalize their attention for each individual.

How does this allow for more empathy when it comes to mental healthcare?

Today when a patient calls their health insurer or clinician, they don’t have a full picture of the patient’s circumstances. “Kintsugi and Pega offer full patient insight in a single phone call. This is something we literally have not had the tools to do until today,” explains Dave Irish, Vice President of Healthcare and Life Sciences Sales, Pegasystems.

Kintsugi allows healthcare organizations to focus on the whole person rather than a disconnected list of symptoms. When you have information on a person’s mental health, physical health, and other context, you can then offer the personalized care that they need in a way that's both nurturing and empathetic. It means the customer service representative can focus more on caring for the patient, adapt their interaction if necessary, and drive a better experience for them. This brings together healthcare and behavioral health in a seamless way.

“With more empathy comes more engagement on the part of the patient. The more we can involve people in their own healthcare, the more they - and their providers - can do for their wellbeing,” states Kelli Bravo.

How does this integration assist the patient?

If a call center employee is notified by Kintsugi that a caller might be suffering from depression or anxiety, the appropriate care team member can provide resources and tools to that person - and their healthcare provider - during or after the call. This can take many forms depending on the patient’s individual characteristics. For example, during the call the patient may be encouraged to explore mental health services or connected directly with a provider. Or they may be sent push notifications with self-service information and resources to their devices.

An email might also be sent automatically to the patient’s caregiver or mental health provider. That’s all possible with Kintsugi and Pega.

How does this partnership make mental healthcare more accessible and convenient to the average American?

This is mental healthcare taking on a proactive role. It can be difficult for someone suffering from a mental health condition to seek help, if they even know they have one. Now, we’re no longer depending on that patient to take the initiative to pick up the phone specifically to talk about mental health. Kintsugi fills that gap from the very first phone call. 

That’s not something that’s been considered before; there’s no product on the market that’s proactively helping these individuals in the same way.

One element that’s helping enormously is that Kintsugi and Pega are essentially bringing the back office to the front of healthcare. That means that even when a person is connecting with non-traditional “care” areas, Kintsugi will augment generalists with relevant markers for additional care. So, patients’ mental health is being cared for even when they’re not looking for an immediate appointment. That’s pretty powerful.

What is the benefit to healthcare providers?

Every health plan is on the hook to be able to prove that it’s really being of service to its members. Especially for highly regulated spaces like Medicare, adding a mental health assessment layer without asking anything extra from the patient (the software only needs to listen in on 20 seconds of free-form speech, in any language), is a win-win for the patient and the provider.

Why is the fact that Kintsugi and Pega both operate in real time so important?

Immediacy is important when it comes to mental health. Reacting in real time means that healthcare providers can now decide on the next best actions to take in the moment, supported by contextual information on that patient “that’s a superpower that no one offers”, adds Dave Irish.  “Tailored services and resources can then be offered to the patient and, critically, caregivers and clinicians can be informed that there may be a problem, if the healthcare organization decides to follow that course of action.”

What is the potential reach of Kintsugi as a result of the new collaboration?

Because Pega is used so broadly in healthcare, millions of interactions occur with global patients everyday.  Starting 1983, Pega manages more healthcare plan conversations than any other leader in the space.

That means Kintsugi’s software has the potential to be used on millions of calls around the world every single day. Our collaboration makes it absolutely frictionless for any of our healthcare clients to activate Kintsugi wherever they use Pega.

How excited are healthcare organizations about the partnership?

We’ve been talking with different clients who are eager to learn more about Kintsugi and what opportunities they will have to integrate this tool into their existing applications. We’ve had such great reception, mirroring our own excitement at being able to significantly propel healthcare capabilities forward in a way no one else is doing.

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