Startup Spotlight: MD Clarity aims to make healthcare prices transparent, accessible



Headquarters: Miami

Concept: Demand for fee transparency, increasing patient deductibles, more complex insurance terms, and rising costs are collectively squeezing the healthcare delivery system. The goal of MD Clarity’s cloud-based healthcare solution is to systematically reduce healthcare costs by making pricing and quality data accessible to patients and healthcare providers and helping doctors ensure they are getting paid adequately for their services. Customers include Veterans Health Administration, with 900 facilities in the U.S., Summit Orthopedics, HealthEast Care System and The Polyclinic.

Story: Three years ago, Mike Albainy left his job as a director of a software company to put his energy and talent toward solving a meaningful problem — the cost of healthcare. An experience with a medical bill ignited his vision for opening up the mystery of healthcare pricing.

“The simple initial goal for the product was to make true patient out-of-pocket cost projections easy for a doctor’s office staff to obtain for their patients,” Albainy said. “Previously, it could take an hour for a staff member to figure out a patient’s insurance contract information and often, the research would result in telling the patient to call their insurance company, and the patient would end up in an endless loop of frustration and confusion.”

He began developing a cloud-based system for a group of orthopedic clinics that allowed patients to know what they were paying out of pocket in advance of their visit, while allowing the doctor’s staff to accurately track that insurance companies were paying them accurate rates. He left his residency in Seattle in 2011 for Miami, where he felt he could connect with a larger network of healthcare providers.

Launched: Summer of 2010

Management: Mike Albainy, CEO

No. of employees: Seven; now adding four positions in engineering, customer operations and support.

Financing: Initial $15,000 in self-funding; customer revenue has funded the business since then. Today, MD Clarity generates more than $2 million a year in revenues.

Recent milestones reached: After a successful first year of using MD Clarity’s software services across its entire hospital network nationwide, the Veterans Health Administration has extended its contract to use MD Clarity’s product for several years. MD Clarity also recently expanded its patient price transparency solution to include the ability for patients to access their current benefits in real time and also easily pay while at the doctor’s office using the MD Clarity app. MD Clarity also opened its second office this January in Seattle. “This is a real solution on the ground that is practical and it works for patients and doctors,” Albainy said.

Biggest startup challenge: Finding the right talent with both engineering skills and healthcare expertise to grow our team. “Recruiting the right people and building a culture where everyone can feel like they are making a meaningful impact on this problem is in many ways harder than building a great product,” Albainy said.

Next steps: To further grow the MD Clarity team, including at the executive level, while expanding its product offerings to a broader variety of clients. “Our focus this year is to continue to roll out our tools to more large health system customers around the country,” he said.

Strategy for next steps: Partner with fellow healthcare entrepreneur Jonathan Weiss of Health Engine, as they both have offices at Pipeline Brickell, a collaborative workspace. MD Clarity will provide the technology backbone for Health Engine’s service platform geared toward larger corporations to help their employees better manage their healthcare plans and find ways to save cost on the healthcare services they seek. Secondly, increase recruiting efforts to ensure the business has a pipeline of strong candidates.

Nancy Dahlberg

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