Cleveland Clinic invests in company that helps patients shop for care

June 11, 2010 by MedCity News

The Cleveland Clinic makes an investment in California internet search engine company Castlight Health Inc. to push transparency in healthcare pricing by offering consumers way to find cheaper care.

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By Mary Vanac

Already an outspoken advocate for healthy living as a means to cut healthcare costs, Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove is getting behind a company that enables people to shop for care.

Armed with prices, it is believed consumers would shop for bargains, limiting the growth of healthcare costs. The Clinic has made an untold investment in California-based information technology company Castlight Health Inc. to push transparency in healthcare pricing by offering consumers a search engine to find those prices, according to the New York Times.

Castlight’s online tool enables users to better understand their healthcare benefits and costs. The San Francisco-based company recently raised $60 million from investors including the Clinic “to accelerate hiring and further product development in order to serve Castlight Health’s initial customers.”

Its first customer is Safeway, the grocery store chain that employs 200,000 people, according to the Times.

Castlight was co-founded in 2008 by Dr. Giovanni Colella, who is well known in the health IT industry for founding Relay Health — a secure way for patients to communicate with their doctors online — and then making a small fortune by selling that company to McKesson, according to ZDNet Healthcare.

Another heavy hitter helped start Castlight — Todd Park, now chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who was CEO and co-founder of AthenaHealth.

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