Here's more evidence that the health industry had a big role in last year's economic revival. A Plymouth Meeting, Pa., firm is getting national attention for its track record putting people to work.

Inc. Magazine named the consumer-service company Accolade Inc. among its top job creators in Pennsylvania.

Accolade CEO Tom Spann says big companies including Comcast Corp. in Philadelphia hire his firm to help their workers make good health care decisions.

"What we are proving is that when you help people get the right care, they cost less," Spann said. "The employers get lower health care costs, they get more productive employees, and they are offering them a benefit that they really like: somebody who can help them navigate a complex health care system."

Accolade added more than 300 jobs across 18 months, most of them full-time positions, Spann said. The company has about 485 workers today.

Some startup companies around the region — and some very established insurance companies — are also in the business of helping guide health care consumers.

Spann maintains that it's a very different experience when you call the number on the back of your health care card and reach an insurance-company representative.

"You get somebody who's measured on how quickly they can get you off the phone," he said.

Betsy Silverman, a clinical assistant with Accolade, said she doesn't work that way.

When a worker calls with questions about a upcoming medical test, Silverman, who is a registered nurse, can tell callers what to expect and how to prepare.

"To make sure they are going to an in-network CAT scan benefits facility," she said. "To give them their benefits and know how much it's going to cost for the CAT scan. And usually what we do is we see them through the whole process, it's not a one-time call."

Spann said the health assistants at his firm are encouraged to spend the time to figure out the social, logistical and even emotional aspects of each call.

"Once you get to know somebody, you can find out what their needs are, what's important to them," Silverman said.

Most of Accolade's clients are large, self-insured companies that pay for their own health care claims instead of contracting with an insurance company.

At Comcast, for example, Accolade's hotline telephone number is on the back of each employee's insurance card.