Medtech

How Irish company SilverCloud combines technology and psychology to improve lives around the world

March 13 2018 No Comments

A strong emphasis on research and clinical trials enabled SilverCloud to develop an ‘innovation DNA’ – and it’s only getting started, says founder and CEO Ken Cahill.

In an era when discussions about mental and emotional health have never been more prominent, one Irish company is harnessing technology to improve the lives of users across Europe and the wider world.

SilverCloud is a confidential platform that delivers therapeutic and psycho-education programs, which are in turn used by healthcare providers and large companies to improve the emotional health of users.

Founded in Dublin in 2012, SilverCloud has over 150,000 active users across 185 organizations in eight countries, the USA, UK, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Australia and Ireland.

CEO Ken Cahill, who is based in Boston, explains that the company allows organizations to “deliver and provide access to effective mental and emotional health at a scalable, lower cost”.

“When we were founded, the industry had a lot of problems, including high levels of user dropout, low levels of user engagement and limited clinical improvement. Those are some of the core challenges that SilverCloud addresses.”

DNA of innovation

“The platform is now used by many types of organizations, helping them to deliver a better mental health experience.”

At the core of SilverCloud’s expansion is what Cahill calls “a DNA of innovation”. One third of its 60-strong staff is dedicated to research and development, with another third composed of clinical staff who run ongoing trials aimed at bettering the service’s offering.

The service currently includes evidence-based, structured programmes that help users to tackle depression, anxiety and stress. A dedication to uncovering new methods and approaches is helping to fuel the company’s success.

“Right now, we have 30 research trials running across our markets. We’re constantly evolving and iterating the platform with new evidence-based programmes.

“For us to serve our clients and users, the solution has to work in terms of positive outcomes, it has to be easy to access and it has to be scalable.”

Given its focus on overseas markets, Cahill is keenly aware of the challenges of expanding within the EU and further afield. However, he explains, expansion doesn’t have to be a complicated process, if each new market is given the attention it deserves.

“The key to our approach is to be respectful of the market we’re entering. It’s important to have a presence in the area. Just flying in and out is not appropriate. You need a full time, dedicated and relentless focus.

As SilverCloud continues to spread its wings ever-further around the world, Cahill describes how its Irish grounding, and the reputation of some of the country’s leading institutions, has contributed to its success.

“Where we come from has really helped. Coming from formational periods in Ireland’s (NDRC) National Digital Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin and the Mater Hospital helped us to establish credibility and pedigree. “

SilverCloud’s commitment to new markets and innovation has seen the platform grow massively over the last five years, explains Cahill. The goal is now to continue growing, while continuing to improve the service for existing users.

“We have over 150,000 people using the platform since 2012. Half of those have started within the last year. The growth rate has been phenomenal.

“The goal is to get to many, many millions and make SilverCloud the number one space for improving emotional health worldwide. That’s the battle cry of everything we do – that’s what we come back to when we make decisions.

“We focus on retaining our culture of innovation while achieving results. As we grow, we focus on keeping that DNA. For example, as we accept investors, we try to make sure they are aligned with what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”

Cahill says that the focus on growth is shared by the company’s staff.

Making lives better

“In our offices, we have screens that show current active and overall users to remind us of our goals to really help improve emotional health”

But beyond user growth, Cahill is proudest that the platform is measurably making lives better. That, he explains, is the mission.

For Cahill, the impact of SilverCloud goes far beyond revenue, extending into how many people it helps and the effect it has on their lives.

To that end, the platform is already seeing results, results that mean better lives for users.

“We entered the UK market just over four years ago. Since then, the platform has been adopted by over 70% of the entire NHS to deliver mental health services,” he says.

“What we’ve seen is incredible – over 80% users of the platform have significant clinical improvement and over 60% will reach full recovery rates – those numbers are nothing short of phenomenal.

“I’m proudest that we’re measurably and positively improving the lives of users. And it goes beyond the users. We’re improving the lives of their spouses, their families and the community.”

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