This week Castlight Health, which offers a personalized health care shopping platform that helps employees better understand the price of medical services and the quality of certain providers, has launched its first mobile app: Castlight Mobile is currently available as a native app for Apple iOS and Google Android devices users, but the company suggests BlackBerry users and others can access the platform through an optimized mobile site, too. The free apps are only available to employees at companies that already use Castlight’s healthcare costs platform.
While Castlight’s list of customers includes various self-insured employers, like financial services firms and biotech companies, the Castlight customers most excited about the app’s launch are those with employees who don’t tend to spend their day behind a computer screen, Ethan Prater, vice president of products at Castlight Health told MobiHealthNews in a recent interview. Retail store chains, grocery store chains, and mining companies are among the Castlight customers that have looked forward to Castlight Mobile, Prater said.
“These types of employees tend to over index as smartphone users than even some of the white collar workers that we serve,” Prater said. “While retail employees and grocery store employees may not sit behind a computer all day, they tend to spend most of their time in the break room on their smartphones.”
Prater noted that the app will make it easier for Castlight users to engage their primary care providers in discussions about costs and quality measures for specialists the PCP refers them to.
“We call this feature ‘check your referral’,” Prater said. “People don’t generally want to change their primary care physician since that is someone they trust. It’s not where the cost is, anyway. The cost is in downstream referrals like specialists. So we created this feature that enables users at the point of care… to very quickly look up and locate the specialist [the PCP recommends] using the app. Then, [the patient] can view that specialist’s cost and quality metrics and ask [their] provider: Is this the specialist we are talking about?”
Prater said the conversation can then turn to other option that the app calls the patient’s attention to and help start a conversation about higher quality and lower cost options for referrals.
“This is a very mobile-specific use case,” Prater said. “You’ll find that we designed this so it is extremely fast for someone to do that at the point of care.”
Castlight sources its quality metrics from a combination of public and private sources, including the HHS Health Data Initiative, Leapfrog, NCQA, and more recently state quality collaboratives like an organization called Minnesota Community Measurement. Castlight also leverages patient satisfaction data from companies like Vitals and Citysearch, which Prater said are important, complementary data sources for decision-making, but different from true quality measures.
The app also includes GPS-enabled provider look-up that flows into turn-by-turn directions to the facility. The app also offers a graphical explanation of the user’s personal plan status that helps user’s understand their deductibles since plans can be complex.
Almost all of the features offered on the desktop, online version of Castlight are present in the app except for one: Castlight found that beta users of the app didn’t see a need to be able to access past care claims to see how much an employer paid or the user paid for past care. Prater said that Castlight may add this feature in the future, but for now it’s one of the few features stripped out for those using the app.
Castlight was founded four years ago by Todd Park, Giovanni Colella, and Bryan Roberts. Park is now the US Federal CTO and former CTO of HHS. Colella previously co-founded Relay Health but is the current CEO of Castlight. Roberts is a partner at venture capital firm Venrock.
More on Castlight’s mobile app in the press release below: Keep reading>>