Using Castlight Health's price discovery tool results in strong savings for customers shopping for the best deal in imaging—but not in clinician office visits or lab results, a study released in JAMA shows.
The results provide an “early glimpse of the potential ability of greater price transparency to influence the choices patients make,” Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt wrote in an accompanying editorial.
The study, co-authored by two Castlight data analysts and Neeraj Sood, the director of research at USC's Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics who also is a paid adviser to Castlight, examined 253,757 households insured by 18 large employers between 2010 and 2013 and using Castlight Health's price transparency platform.
The claims data from those households were split into two groups: Patients who searched on Castlight's tool 14 days before a visit for imaging, clinician office visits, and lab results; and patients who didn't. Searcher and non-searcher groups were roughly similar, with searcher groups having a slightly lower percentage of men and a slightly different age profile. (Fewer 25- to 49-year-olds and more 50- to 64-year-olds.) But the groups had very similar disease and medical condition profiles.