Ways Uber Health and Lyft are Transforming Patient Transportation

Ways Uber Health and Lyft are Transforming Patient Transportation

Monika Malhotra
Reviewed by Dozie Ezerioha, MD
12 February, 2019
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Every year, 3.6 million Americans miss doctors’ appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation. To combat this issue, Uber and fierce competitor Lyft have decided last year to team-up with providers, to help ensure that patients can make the trips necessary to fulfill their scheduled appointments at the doctor’s office. Since missed appointments reportedly cost providers around $150 billion a year nationally, and providers said to experience no-shows as high as 30%, these partnerships may improve patient engagement, the patient experience, and the financial outcomes of providers and their patients.

Missed appointments reportedly cost providers around $150 billion a year nationally, and providers said to experience no-shows as high as 30%...

While the incentive for Uber and Lyft may be based on their desire to increase the scale of their operations, the program benefits providers as well. These transportation services are often cheaper than taxis and allow hospitals to book their patients based on eligibility, as well as track their trip in real-time. Payment is electronic, which makes the transaction automatic and straightforward for both parties. Uber has even made this service accessible to those without smartphones by contacting patients about their rides through text messages, phone calls or printouts.

Both leading peer-to-peer transportation companies have launched platforms and tested the potential outcomes of this new initiative. Uber created Uber Health, a HIPAA-compliant platform which is used by providers to call rides for their patients in an organized, efficient, and secure manner. It was tested with 100 providers throughout an 8-month trial and is expected to continue growing.

Uber has even made this service accessible to those without smartphones by contacting patients about their rides through text messages, phone calls or printouts.

Similarly, Lyft has created an avenue for providers to help their patients get to the hospital. By partnering and integrating with Allscripts, a medical records company, they are bringing this service to over 2,500 hospitals that use Allscripts’ Sunrise electronic health records (EHRs). Lyft also collaborates with Hitch Health, a healthcare technology company that identifies the patients most likely to need a ride. These advances can especially be used to help elderly patients, patients with chronic conditions, and patients who cannot drive after surgery. Overall, Uber and Lyft offer the potential to maximize comfort and accessibility, which impacts providers and patients alike.

Monika Malhotra
Monika Malhotra
Monika believes health technology can be leveraged better by health professionals and patients. She brings experience from research and life science consulting work in London & the US.
Dozie Ezerioha, MD
Dozie Ezerioha, MD
Physician, Innovator, Industry Analyst & Entrepreneur. Dozie is an executive at remote monitoring telemedicine company PatientOne + medical product discovery at Medherd. Likes to think he can code.
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