Ridesharing technology company Uber has launched a new division that will provide healthcare organizations with mobility options for patients needing to attend medical appointments.
Research shows that every year, 3.6 million citizens in the USA miss doctor’s appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation, with ‘no-show’ rates as high as 30% nationally. While transportation barriers are common across the general population, these issues are greatest for vulnerable populations, including patients with the highest burden of chronic disease.
Uber Health has been introduced as a way for the rideshare company to partner with healthcare organizations to provide reliable, comfortable transportation for patients. The system’s dashboard allows healthcare professionals to order rides for patients going to and from the medical attention that they need. The company is also launching an Uber Health API (application programming interface) to enable easy integrations into existing healthcare products.
Developed with healthcare in mind, Uber Health’s new features include:
• Flexible ride-scheduling– Coordinators can schedule rides on behalf of patients, caregivers, and staff to take place immediately, within a few hours, or up to 30 days in advance, allowing transportation to be booked for follow-up appointments while still at the healthcare facility;
• Access for patients without a smartphone – riders do not need the Uber app, or even a smartphone, to get a ride with Uber Health because it is all done through SMS text messages, with a future for riders to receive a call with trip details to their mobile phone or landline instead;
• Simple billing, reporting, and management – Organizations can easily keep track of what they are spending on transport, with simple reporting on requested rides and monthly billing statements, appointments, and scheduling;
• HIPAA Compliance – The service meets US HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) standards, and the company has also worked with Clearwater Compliance to conduct comprehensive risk and compliance assessments.
Over 100 healthcare organizations in the USA, including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities, home care centers and physical therapy centers are already using Uber Health as a part of the beta program. Healthcare technology companies, including Bracket Global and Collective Health, are also exploring ways that Uber Health can work with their offerings.
Pete Celano, director of consumer health initiatives at beta trialist MedStar Health, commented, “Uber has helped us drastically reduce appointment cancellations. It’s great to be able to quickly request a ride with so that in-need patients can make an appointment they’d otherwise miss.”