178610 Interactive voice response system advancements: Culturally-sensitive call flows

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 4:30 PM

Ivy Krull, MSW, MPH , Center for Addictions Research and Services, Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA
For 20 years, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) has provided phone-based outreach to hard-to-reach populations to support health and advocate for behavior change. Messages can be tailored to specific populations by gender, age, benefit structure, community-based supports or other demographic information. The objective of this presentation is to describe and present findings related to a recent advance in health outreach, the culturally-sensitive call structure. Culturally-sensitive call flows communicate content tailored for racial, ethnic or socio-economic status based on database variables or on information shared by a participant during a call. This talk reports on an outreach to commercial members of a health plan with an ICD-9 diagnosis of diabetes who are, based on claims data, non-compliant with some of their preventive testing. In addition to standard IVR English and Spanish call content, the program included a culturally sensitive call in English with 400 members who were flagged as possibly Hispanic, based on first and last name, and who declined the offer to speak Spanish. Call flow, questions and feedback for issues that could relate to a lower socio-economic status were each optimized with culturally-specific information. Outcomes were compared to the culturally-neutral English script. Conclusions about the efficacy of the outreach continue to be evaluated at this time. Preliminary findings are that branching call content based on racial or ethnic information results in wider receptivity to messaging and higher rates of call engagement. More qualitative analysis is currently in progress. Discussion points include other outreach opportunities for culturally-sensitive calls and tying learning back to behavior-change approaches that are known to be successful in an IVR format.

Learning Objectives:
1. The participant will have an understanding of the five key advancements made in IVR health outreach. 2. The participant will understand the value of IVR health outreach as a tool for behavior change and improvements to public health. 3. The participant will understand how occasions for culturally sensitive script modification can be automatically inferred from stored and real-time information. 4. The participant will be able to discuss key next-steps for IVR outreach in the public health sector, related to segmentation by race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.

Keywords: Interactive Communication, Behavior Modification

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As part of my roles as a student and employee of Eliza Corporation, I worked extensively on the program I am submitting.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Eliza Corporation Speech Activated Outreach Employment (includes retainer), Patent holder and Stock Ownership

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.