Uber launches service dedicated to driving patients to their doctors

Uber Health

"Every year, 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation", said Chris Weber, the general manager of Uber Health, in a prepared statement.

The benefits to doctors and hospitals of using ride hailing apps - which replace taxis and medical shuttles, but not ambulances - include on-demand scheduling, destination tracking and lower costs, said one doctor who had tried Uber's service.

Additionally, in New Orleans, Uber has a platform called Uber ASSIST for individuals with mobility issues.

All parts of Uber Health's process is done through text messages and doesn't require an Uber account., so those without smartphones can use the service.

So far, about a hundred health care organizations, including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities, home care centers, and physical therapy centers have already used Uber Health's test program. Drivers will still use the Uber smartphone app to pick up these passengers.

Companies like Veyo are targeting Medicaid and Medicare patients and Circulation is offering a platform connecting ride-share services like Uber and Lyft for NEMT.

Uber is fighting transportation barriers to healthcare by teaming up with healthcare organizations to provide patients with reliable transportation to and from appointments, the company announced Thursday.

"Although Uber advertises a wheelchair accessible service ("Uber WAV") in the Bay Area, investigations found that in Alameda County, Uber WAV service is simply not available".

Health insurers and others have long recognized the need to help some patients, especially those with low incomes, make their medical appointments.

The company said in a press release they partnered with more than 100 healthcare organizations in the USA including hospitals, clinics and rehab centers.

Uber as a company has since started different ventures.

Now Uber has figured out a pretty clever way of getting those people into Uber cars without even needing them to own a phone: have their doctor's office do it for them.

Healthcare organizations can schedule rides for patients and employees through the existing Uber online network, according to the site. When patients don't show up, it hurts revenue, messes up schedules and physician workflow, and impacts access not only for the patients who miss their appointments but also for patients who could have taken that slot.

"Many doctors call cabs for their patients, but Uber is available in about 250 US cities and is sometimes cheaper than a metered taxi".

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