SBIR and STTR Success Story for
Telesage, Inc.

(Information Posted/Updated on 01/13/2004)

Telesage, Inc.
716 Gimghoul Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27514

Contact:    Benjamin Brodey, M.D., M.P.H.
Phone:      919-942-8849
Fax:          919-942-0036
Web Site:

Related Award(s):  SBIR Grant # 5 R44 MH57614-03
Technology Developed:
The project was successful and additional enhanced versions of the SmartQuest software package continue to be released and paid for entirely through sales of this self-sustaining project. SmartQuest was developed as a computerized system that admininisters dynamic questionnaires (i.e., computerized adaptive tests, CAT), collects and manages patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data, and creates reports of health-related quality of life status for clinical researchers, patients, and health care providers (NIH RFA-RM-04-011).

Key Words:  Patient-Reported Outcomes, IVR, CAT, Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Interactive Voice, Computerized Adaptive, IRT.
Uses of Technology/Products/Service:
SmartQuest is designed to administer surveys to anyone who has access to a telephone. SmartQuest software can run up to 99 surveys simultaneously, in any language. The system has the ability to branch to different questions, surveys, or telephone numbers based on callers' responses and complex algorithms. It automatically scores surveys as they are completed and stores all results in a Microsoft Access or other standard database. Patients can call directly into a survey or be transferred to a survey by a staff member. Either way, SmartQuest provides the potential for real-time outcomes tracking 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Each SmartQuest CD installs easily on a PC, and with the help of a standard telephone, customers can create and record their own surveys or interviews for callers. These surveys can gather numeric or spoken information and can relay information tailored to the individual client. With the new DialQuest feature, customers can import calling lists, admininister fully-automated surveys, or deliver recorded information to their screened client list. No special training is required to operate SmartQuest Interactive Voice Response (IVR) software.

Benefit to Company:
The project was successful and additional enhanced versions of the SmartQuest software package continue to be released and paid for entirely through sales of this self-sustaining product.

With the new DialQuest feature, customers can import calling lists, administer fully-automated surveys, or deliver recorded information to research subjects.

How Product Was Commercialized:
SmartQuest had many users outside of Mental Health and Healthcare more broadly. These additional users have the capacity to drive further technological innovations of SmartQuest. Telesage had benefited greatly from NIH grant awards and SmartQuest has achieved financial self-sufficiency.

A sample of TeleSage customers who have purchased SmartQuest is provided below:

Grant-based Healthcare Research: Case Western Reserve University, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cook County Hospital, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, McLean Hospital, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-San Diego Medical Center, University of Central Florida-Orlando, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania Health System, University of Vermont, and University of Washington School of Medicine.

Private Healthcare Research: BehaviorTech Solutions, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Camino Medical Group, Florida Department of Children and Families, Friends Hospital, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, KidsPeace, Mid Valley Behavioral Care Network, 18 counties in the Ohio Public Mental Health System, Ohio University, Providence Hospital, Psagot Institute, Public Health Institute, United Behavioral Health, and ValueOptions.

Other Purchasers: ALCOA, Area Market Research, Arlex Technology, ASDE Survey Sampler, Audiomakers, Casey Industrial, Certified Audit of Circulations, Coastline Community College, Consumer Aptitudes, Cummins Inc., DISC Information Services, Daimler Chrysler Services, Delfax Solutions, ESPN, Facts Research, Fastline Publications, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, Founders Bank, GE Capital Bank of Sweden, Global Marketing, Hammer & Williams, Interviewing Services of America, Jostens, Market Probe, Markinetics, Microfour, Muskingum Valley ESC, National Research Corp, National Support Center, PSP HR Consulting, Panel Opinions, Pitney Bowes, Predictive Concepts, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, RAND, RTNielson, Research International, Sawtooth, Score Sports Network, Shop ‘n Chek, Silicon Smarts, Smith Research, Statistics Canada, Trend Integration, VGM Technologies, and Westat.

Other Comments Related to Company's Success Story:
This SBIR Grant resulted in the successful creation of SmartQuest. SmartQuest has been used by healthcare researchers to successfully complete federally-funded research. SmartQuest is now a self-supporting product and has resulted in the hiring of eleven full-time employees. The Central Intelligence Agency has requested presentations on SmartQuest at their Langley site and may be using it in the war against terrorism. The accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers uses SmartQuest as a whistle-blower system to prevent misconduct within its accounting firm.

Past R&D and/or Sales from this Project:   $1,200,000
Estimated Future Annual R&D and/or Sales from this Project:   $350,000