As of 2017, there are over 27 million uninsured Americans. Due to the removal of the Health Insurance Mandate, this number will only increase. These are people who take a gamble every time they get sick. In 2019, the US Government passed a law requiring all hospitals to post medication and procedure price sheets (charge masters) publicly. We wanted to use that data to help relieve price shock for the uninsured.
What it does
ClearSpend lists local hospitals and provides users with the ability to easily search through hospital procedure and medication costs. Users can verify that they have not been over charge or learn what to expect before a certain procedure/emergency. In addition, the app lets users combine various medical services in a cart in order to view total costs of a visit.
How we built it
The app is written in React Native and interacts with a Google Cloud Platform hosted express server which connects to an Algolia database. Hospital metadata is parsed from the Google Places API and stored in Firebase. We have also built a tools client in Next.js to easily import new datasets in a simple drag/drop fashion.
Challenges we ran into
Though the law states that price sheets have to be public, hospital administrations go out of their way to hide said information in legalese and difficult to explore content. Upon finding said data, it is also in various types of convoluted formats that are not easy for sorting/importing.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud to build a product that is particularly useful for those that are the most vulnerable.
What we learned
We learned a lot about how medical data is stored, shared, and organized. We also explored various features of the Google Cloud Platform that we had never used before. Finally we got to interface with a very fast/efficient search platform, Algolia.
What's next for ClearSpend
We want to add more hospitals to make it a comprehensive platform for everyone.