Just like that, here we are in the last few weeks of 2021. It has certainly been a trying year in many ways. But throughout it all, Castlight has remained committed to helping as many people as possible better navigate their health—including pandemic-related care–to help them live healthier, happier lives.
As we look back on 2021 and try to focus on the positives, here are some accomplishments we’re celebrating.
1. Helping Millions of Americans Navigate COVID-19 Vaccinations
We partnered with the CDC and Boston Children’s Hospital to ensure individuals in all 50 states could easily discover where to access a COVID-19 vaccine in their area. Multiple Castlighters worked tirelessly to get this tool off the ground in early 2021.
“The deadlines were very tight, so the team had to put in some really late nights (for which we got extra time off after),” says Mukul Mittal, one of the many engineers who contributed to this project. “But the energy was always high and everyone was happy to do it. Because this project had—and continues to have—a far-reaching impact.”
This COVID-19 VaccineFinder data is leveraged by the Centers for Disease Control to power Vaccines.gov. The public can access pertinent information on vaccine availability at over 59,000 vaccine locations. As of early December, over 50 million people had visited the website.
2. Connecting Vulnerable Populations to the Right Care and Resources
In a study conducted earlier this year, Castlight found that, of six million commercially-insured individuals, 27% live in a zip code where the median income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and 15% live in areas with poor access to healthy foods. In addition, the data show that people living in these areas have higher rates of chronic conditions—including behavioral health—and demonstrate concerning healthcare utilization patterns.
At Castlight, it’s core to our mission to ensure all of our members are connected to the care and resources they need, and that means helping vulnerable populations overcome barriers to care driven by social determinants of health.
We published a white paper outlining how Castlight approaches reducing these barriers to care with our three-part framework: identify, locate, connect. As an added resource for employers, we put together The Employer’s Playbook to Addressing Social Determinants of Health to help them figure out what their employees need most and how they can address those needs.
We have lots of other SDoH-related work in progress and can’t wait to share more in 2022!
3. Providing a Rigorous Approach to Quality that Results in Better Outcomes for Members and Employers
The results of low-quality care aren’t great. Each year in the U.S., medical errors result in over 250,000 deaths and about $210 billion is spent on unnecessary care. After subjecting our quality approach to meticulous evaluation, we discovered that members who use Castlight search tools to find a provider experience the following three outcomes:
- They’re more likely than non-Castlight users to choose high-quality providers
- Those who visit PCPs with higher Q-Score ratings receive more preventive care
- Choosing a PCP with a high-quality Q-Score led to 15% fewer inpatient days per year and 8% lower total medical spend
Our quality white paper dives into the three steps of our approach, including what Castlight’s proprietary Q-Score is and how we developed it.
4. A Continued Investment in Delivering Best-in-Class Research and Development
This past June, we officially launched our new R&D center, Castlight India, a wholly-owned Castlight subsidiary based in Hyderabad, India. We’ve had a successful partnership with more than 100 exceptionally-talented colleagues in Hyderabad since 2014, and we are thrilled that 96% of those we extended full-time offers to accepted.
The Castlight India team is full-stack R&D, including developers, product managers, analytics, and more. Being able to bring these team members in-house gives Castlight the ability to expand in India in a substantial way, further increasing our R&D resources and our ability to provide our customers with a first-class experience supported by cutting-edge products and features.
5. Bending the Cost Curve for Employers
We strongly believe that, if Castlight is successful in navigating employees (and their families) and directly engaging them with their health, there will be positive outcomes for both them and their employer. Recently, a new study conducted by renowned actuarial firm Santa Barbara Actuaries validated that employers who implement Castlight’s digital navigation solution realize significant savings in medical spend.
While we have always internally documented the cost savings achieved through our navigation platform, we are excited that our thesis was confirmed with a third-party report that leveraged rigorous actuarial methods.
6. Fostering a Culture of Innovation, Collaboration, and Empowerment
Each year, Castlight holds two Hackathon Days, which are a great opportunity for employees across the entire organization to come together, brainstorm ideas, and collaborate. This year, we held our 24th and 25th Hackathons.
The focus of Hackathon 24, “Smoothing Out Our Castlight Kinks,” was to resolve some of the smaller issues we face on a daily basis in order to improve our app or business processes. Overall, 17 teams presented projects, over 45 Castlighters participated, and three teams won. Hackathon 25, “Simplifying Navigation for a More Personal Health Journey,” saw 15 final projects, 52 participants, and four winning teams. For each of the seven 2021 winning teams, Castlight donated to an organization of the team’s choice.
It should be noted that Castlight takes the submitted projects very seriously. Some even end up making it onto the official product roadmap. In fact, earlier this year, a project from Hackathon 23 in 2020 called “Gender Transition-Related Care Inclusion” became a reality.
As we look forward to 2022, we are excited to continue building on our mission of having a positive impact on as many people’s lives as possible. And while we certainly hope next year is much less turbulent than the past two, we are ready to help both our employees and our customers, whatever may come.