Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Uber Health launches with tools to help patients get to medical appointments

An Uber waits for a client in New York City. The company is partnering with health care organizations to provide patients with reliable transportation Uber Health launches with tools to help patients get to medical appointments
Nellie Chapman | 02 March, 2018, 08:04

Andy Kurtzig (CEO, JustAnswer) and more.

If you look at the breakdown of Uber's demographics, the company is pretty evenly split when it comes to gender, as well as its urban versus suburban users, according to a survey done by GlobalWebIndex of over 1,300 Uber users in 2017. For example, Uber drivers will be told only a patient's name, the pick-up and drop-off addresses, and will not know if the passenger is using Uber Health. Though the number that use smartphones is climbing, still they remain an untapped resource for the company.

Everyone needs to visit a doctor at some point, but not everyone can drive there.

More than 100 United States healthcare organizations - "including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities, home care centers, and physical therapy centers" - have already been using the new service as part of a beta program, Uber Health General Manager Chris Weber wrote in a blog post.

"While transportation barriers are common across the general population, these barriers are greatest for vulnerable populations, including patients with the highest burden of chronic disease", said Chris Weber, general manager of Uber Health, in a statement announcing the service. "We have seen significant savings using Uber rides instead of taxis". "It's definitely something we're very excited about and it's a key component of what we're putting together here".

Holley told Newsweek that a majority of the rides ordered on Uber Health request an UberX vehicle for patients.

It's been previously reported that some people often use Uber as a replacement for calling an ambulance, perhaps because they're cheaper than emergency transport.

The drivers serving Uber Health are regular Uber drivers. It's also compliant with our most important medical privacy law. "We make sure we have that partitioned off from core Uber data".

Uber Health can be accessed either as an online dashboard or as an application programming interface (API) that software developers can integrate into their own healthcare systems.

According to the ride hailing firm, Uber Health is already being used by more than 100 healthcare organisations, including hospitals, clinics, rehab centres, senior care facilities, home care centres, and physical therapy centres.

'The fact that they are only launching this service now and not in the past is because it's likely taken a while to work out the details, ' he added. The providers cover the cost of the rides.

Every year, 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation.

"The facilities are able to mitigate the incidents of no-show". The study estimates that these missed appointments, in turn, cost the USA healthcare industry about $150 billion, annually. "Absolutely the goal is to make sure that people stop missing appointments", said Holley.

This is not the first time that Uber has made entered into the healthcare space. Uber, and its USA competitor Lyft, want to chip away at the problem. "That's good business for our customers". "The key focus is making sure the operations are sound". Keeping our partners and their patients in mind, we're looking forward to seeing what's possible when transportation is no longer a barrier to care.